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THE INSIDE TRACK | NOW YOU KNOW

March 26, 1997|HOUSTON MITCHELL

Sandy Koufax and Phil Rizzuto are identified with the Dodgers and New York Yankees, but according to the book "The Ballplayers," things could have been much different.

Koufax played for Lafayette High in Brooklyn but was considered a questionable prospect because of his wildness. After graduating, he tried out for the New York Giants. After pitching for 15 minutes, Giant catcher Bobby Hofman told him, "Make sure you get a good education, kid, because you won't make it in the majors." Koufax also failed in a tryout with the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Dodgers signed him for $14,000, but only because they thought the Yankees were interested in him.

Rizzuto tried out with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1935. Casey Stengel, managing the Dodgers at the time, sent him home, saying "You're too small. You'll get hurt. Go on, get out of here. Go get a shoe box."

Koufax and Rizzuto have been inducted into the Hall of Fame, Koufax in his first try in 1972 and Rizzuto by the veterans committee in 1994.

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