The Yankees announce the Old Timers Day rosters. Tanyon Sturtze finally gets the call

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The Yankees will hold their 66th annual Old Timers Day on July 1, and they announced the invitees a little earlier today.

Many of the usual suspects, obviously: Yogi Berra, Reggie Jackson, Ron Guidry, Whitey Ford and Goose Gossage. Among the new faces: Sterling Hitchcock, Stump Merrill, Gene Monahan, Matt Nokes and Tanyon Sturtze. Yep. THE Tanyon Sturtze.

I kid, but that’s pretty cool. It would be pretty easy for the Yankeess to skew these sorts of events to only the past greats or those only associated with their many winning teams. But bringing in dudes like Nokes, Hitchcock and Sturtze suggests pretty strongly that the team, unlike the press that follows it, doesn’t differentiate between “true Yankees” and the rabble.

As far as the team is concerned, if you ever wore the pinstripes, you’re a Yankees Old Timer. And there’s something nice about that.

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.