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More than meets the eye: ESPN helps Library of Congress launch “Baseball Americana”

Part 3 of 5: Three-time unanimous Cy Young winner Sandy Koufax's final season

EDITOR’S NOTE: On Friday, June 29, the Library of Congress will open its latest exhibit “Baseball Americana” with help from ESPN’s very own Statistics and Information Group (SIG). The exhibit will explore baseball’s roots, its changing traditions and the state of the game today. SIG collaborated with the Library on more than 100 artifacts to develop original content in the form of statistics, trivia questions and historical comparisons to offer new insights into America’s game for everyone, from rookies to the most die-hard baseball fans. With this entry, Front Row continues a five-part series this week illustrating an artifact and providing some of the data SIG provided for the Library of Congress’ exhibit.

Dodgers great Sandy Koufax dominates in his final season

Sandy Koufax (Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress)
  • This photo was taken during Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers legend Sandy Koufax’s 12th and final MLB season. Koufax went 27-9 with a career-low 1.73 ERA in 1966, then announced his retirement due to an arthritic left elbow after the Orioles swept his Dodgers in the 1966 World Series.
  • Koufax’s 27 wins and 317 strikeouts are the most by a pitcher in his final season since the mound moved to its current distance in 1893.
  • His performance in 1966 netted him his third Cy Young Award (second straight), each of which he won unanimously. Koufax is the only pitcher to win three Cy Youngs by a unanimous vote.
  • Koufax led the NL in ERA in each of his final five MLB seasons with a cumulative 1.95 mark from 1962-66. Not only is Koufax the sole pitcher to lead his league in ERA in each of five consecutive seasons, but also his 1.95 ERA in that time is the lowest in any five-season span in the nearly 100 years of the Live-Ball Era (minimum 1,000 innings pitched).

EDITOR’S NOTE: On Thursday, Front Row will publish Part 4 in this series.