The conclusion of the Sandy Koufax Era was a roller coaster ride for the LA Dodgers. Overly dependent on the fragile left arm of their Hall of Fame left-hander, they played dismally in 1964—their worst season since World War II—after losing Koufax to an injury. The next year, his shutout performance on short rest won them the World Series. He single-handedly saved the Dodger’s 1966 regular season in the final game, only to fail ignominiously during the Series.
In the last two seasons of his career, Koufax averaged an impressive 27 complete games, 27 wins and 350 strikeouts. Sixteen days after winning his second consecutive Cy Young Award, he shocked Major League Baseball by announcing his retirement. Like a supernova that had lit up the sports for six years, he burned out and was gone by age 30.