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50 Years Since The Dodgers Behind Sandy Koufax and Lou Johnson Clinched The 1965 World Series

October 14, 2015

Fifty years ago today, Sandy Koufax capped one of the greatest pitching seasons ever by hurling a three hit shutout victory at Minnesota, vs the Twins in the seventh and deciding game of the 1965 World Series.

Sandy pitched on two days rest and the Dodgers scored the only runs of the game in the fourth inning.

Lou Johnson, who after the game said “Sandy you are the greatest,” and was an invaluable member of the team, taking over for the great Tommy Davis, when the latter broke his ankle, hit a drive off the foul pole for a home run and a (1-0) lead.

I recall being in the synagogue bathroom, for the purpose of checking the score. A fine broadcaster, Byrum Saam’s call, on that home run, I realized years later when I heard a replay, was “fair or fair” not fair or foul. It was both fair and great, for a nearly ten year old fan.

Back to back doubles by Ron Fairly and Wes Parker produced the game’s final run and it stayed (2-0) Dodgers, largely due to Koufax’s brilliant pitching and a great defensive play by Jim “Junior” Gilliam on a 2 on, 1 out, 5th inning smash by the Twins’ Zoilo Versalles, the American League MVP in that year of 1965.

I was allowed by my parents to use a phony doctor’s appointment to miss the last hour of Hebrew School, and years later Rabbi Harry Goder, the teacher that day, a brilliant man, great teacher and Dodgers’ fan was my eleventh grade mathematics teacher.

He more or less knew I was headed home to watch the end of that 1965 game. It was fine as I “was a good student.”

How long ago it was. So much, far too fast in these 50 years!

There had been race riots in the Watts section of Los Angeles that year.

In the victorious locker room, a black man Johnson, who endured years of play in the minor leagues and surely horrible racist comments, if not worse, praised a Jewish man, Koufax, who had not pitched game one of that World Series in observance of the Jewish high holiday, Yom Kippur. It endures as a stirring moment of what could be!

I know we can not go back. Child actor Ron Howard was the approximate 10 year old, actor Gig Young’s character wanted to return to be on a ‘Twilight Zone” episode.

Howard has memories of Koufax and that game, but no script by director Howard, nor The “Twilight Zone’s” Rod Serling can return us there.

Yet it remains a great memory and a monumental achievement by the Dodgers clinched by a Koufax masterpiece.


Click below for a video from game 7 with the great announcer Ray Scott.

1965 WS Gm7: Dodgers win World Series

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