Mets’ blogger Metstradamus is steamed at an email he just received from the Brooklyn Cyclones — a Mets’ affiliate — announcing that Tommy Lasorda is going to be inducted into the Brooklyn Dodgers Hall of Fame. The same Tommy Lasorda who pitched 13 whole innings with a 7.62 ERA for the Brooklyn Dodgers. “I’m lucky my head hasn’t exploded at all the things wrong with this scenario,” Metstradamus says.
And he has a good point. Why, exactly, is a Mets affiliate the keeper of the Dodgers’ history? Sure, Brooklyn is Brooklyn, but one would think that the loyalties would lie with the local big club, not the one that up and left over half a century ago. It’s not like the L.A. Dodgers have ignored their New York history.
All of this gets thrown into the general pile of things — along with that Ebbets-style rotunda and serial eschewings of all things oldenMets — that, rightly or wrongly, suggests that the Mets couldn’t care less about their own, quite underrated history.
Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports that Hall of Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax will be honored with a statue at Dodger Stadium, expected to be unveiled in 2020. Dodger Stadium will be undergoing major renovations, expected to cost around $100 million, after the season. Koufax’s statue will go in a new entertainment plaza beyond center field. The current statue of Jackie Robinson will be moved into the same area.
Koufax, 83, had a relatively brief career, pitching parts of 12 seasons in the majors, but they were incredible. He was a seven-time All-Star who won the National League Cy Young Award three times (1963, ’65-66) and the NL Most Valuable Player Award once (’63). He contributed greatly to the ’63 and ’65 championship teams and authored four no-hitters, including a perfect game in ’65.
Koufax was also influential in other ways. As Shaikin notes, Koufax refused to pitch Game 1 of the 1965 World Series to observe Yom Kippur. It was an act that would attract national attention and turn Koufax into an American Jewish icon.
Ahead of the 1966 season, Koufax and Don Drysdale banded together to negotiate against the Dodgers, who were trying to pit the pitchers against each other. They sat out spring training, deciding to use their newfound free time to sign on to the movie Warning Shot. Several weeks later, the Dodgers relented, agreeing to pay Koufax $125,000 and Drysdale $110,000, which was then a lot of money for a baseball player. It would be just a few years later that Curt Flood would challenge the reserve clause. Koufax, Drysdale, and Flood helped the MLB Players Association, founded in 1966, gain traction under the leadership of Marvin Miller.