Finding the Left Arm of God

Sandy Koufax and the Los Angeles Dodgers, 1960–1963

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About the Book

This is the story of the L.A. Dodgers’ volatile fortunes during Sandy Koufax’s transformation from a wild left-hander with a losing record on the verge of quitting the game, to an artist with exquisite control of the baseball—a veritable Mozart on the mound.
From the Dodgers’ sudden plunge into the baseball wilderness in 1960, to their return to pennant contention in Koufax’s breakout year of 1961, through their catastrophic 1962 season—precipitated by Koufax’s freak midseason finger injury—to their redemption in 1963 with their second World Championship on the West Coast, the narrative is set against the backdrop of John F. Kennedy’s fleeting New Frontier presidency.

About the Author(s)

Attorney Brian M. Endsley lives in Pleasant Hill, California.

Bibliographic Details

Brian M. Endsley
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 296
Bibliographic Info: 64 photos, appendix, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2015
pISBN: 978-0-7864-7415-8
eISBN: 978-1-4766-1894-4
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


Preface 1

Prologue 3

Part I. 1960: Return to the Wilderness

One. Bright Beginnings 9

Two. Changes, Losses, and a Glimpse at Greatness 19

Three. Out of the Woodshed and into Contention 31

Four. Facing Reality in the Year of the Pirates 41

Part II. 1961: The Great Awakening of Sandy Koufax

Five. Leo 61

Six. Turning Point in Florida 66

Seven. April—A Full Moon and a New Koufax 71

Eight. Koufax Takes Off! 80

Nine. Showdown in August 96

Ten. The Coliseum Era Comes to an End 105

Part III. 1962: The Best of Times, the Worst of Times

Eleven. The Dodger Stadium Era Begins 117

Twelve. A Season Goes Numb 124

Thirteen. Life Without Koufax 137

Fourteen. Black September 146

Fifteen. Left Behind in October 165

Part IV. 1963: Return to the Summit

Sixteen. A Season Riding on a Finger 183

Seventeen. Life Is Good on Planet Koufax 196

Eighteen. An August Lull Becomes a September Fight 221

Nineteen. Four Days in October 242

Twenty. The Apotheosis of Sandy Koufax 250

Epilogue 253

Appendix: Sandy Koufax Statistics (Career; 1961; 1962; 1963) 255

Chapter Notes 267

Bibliography 279

Index 283

Book Reviews & Awards

“In this, the second volume of a trilogy on the Dodgers in the Koufax era (1958–1966), Endsley details Koufax’s crucial contributions to the transplanted Brooklynites’ struggle to return to pennant contention. The early ’60s were heady and hopeful times and Endsley paints them vividly and ably, contextualizing what was still a fundamentally conservative sport even as the times they were a changing”—The Daily Beast; “an effective examination of the transformation of one hurler’s career. Endsley’s work demonstrates the powerful impact of combining pure athletic talent, statistical analysis, and coaching in order to bring out the best in a player…highly informative and enjoyable work that baseball fans, both of the statistical and ‘regular’ variety will surely enjoy”—Sport in American History.