UPDATE: I just spoke with a source close to Pettitte. The source — while acknowledging that Pettitte is somewhat unpredictable — believes that Pettitte will be playing in 2011.
3.05 P.M.: Bob Klapisch just tweeted that the Yankees “heard from a friend of Pettite’s that he’s definitely retiring.” That word came three weeks ago, however, and the team is still waiting for official word.
I’m skeptical only insofar as (a) if there was really something solid about Pettitte retiring, it seems like Kalpisch would make a monster story out of it rather than just tweet it; and (b) why would the Yankees rely on “a friend of Pettite’s” for such a report? They know his cell phone number. And we’ve heard as recently as a couple of weeks ago that Pettitte was coming back or going to the Rangers or whatever. In short: people likely know less about Andy Pettitte’s true intentions than science knows about worm holes and quarks and stuff.
I’m not doubting it and I’m not believing it. It’s out there. I think we need a bit more than this, however, before we can really start talking about Pettitte’s career in the past tense.
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.