Blue Jays to announce John Farrell as new manager today

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News broke over the weekend that the Blue Jays are hiring Red Sox pitching coach John Farrell as their new manager and an official announcement is expected to come at a press conference this afternoon.

WEEI.com has been out in front reporting on the Blue Jays’ manager search and Rob Bradford confirmed the hiring by talking directly to Farrell himself.

Farrell, who has served as the Red Sox’s pitching coach since 2007 and before that worked as the Indians’ farm director, will take over for Cito Gaston beginning at 3:00 p.m. eastern time.

Andrew Stoeten of Drunk Jays Fans has a very nice run-down of various Farrell-related topics, including the fact that he has no managerial experience and pitching coaches in general are rarely hired as managers. Stoeten doesn’t seem very worried about either of those things and I tend to agree. Farrell is a good hire.

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.