Mark Teixeira destroys Bobby Wilson

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BobbyWilsonTeixeira.jpgAngels catcher Bobby Wilson, who was making his first major league start on Friday, was forced to leave the game after being barreled over by Mark Teixeira while trying to block the plate in the third inning.

According to Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times, Wilson was diagnosed with a left ankle sprain and a concussion. He was taken to an area hospital for a CT scan and X-rays.

Following the game, Teixeira expressed regret for the incident:

“I feel terrible. It makes me sick,” Teixeira said. “You never want to
hurt a guy. I was going to slide, but as soon as I saw him learning toward
me, I thought, ‘OK, he’s got the ball, I’ve got to knock it loose.’
Every time I’m in that position I try to protect myself by lowering my
shoulder.”

Upon first glance, it doesn’t appear that the collision was necessary, but with repeated viewings you’ll see that Teixeira didn’t even recognize that the ball had ricocheted away from Wilson. Even Angels manager and former catcher
Mike Scioscia called it “a clean play.” Some Angels’ players disagree, including Torii Hunter, who said Teixeira appeared to be “on a mission,” but I really think you have to give him the benefit of the doubt here.

Sandy Koufax to be honored with statue at Dodger Stadium

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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.