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April 24, 1962

Koufax Found Control, Struck Fear in Batters

April 24, 1999|EARL GUSTKEY | TIMES STAFF WRITER

He could knock down a barn door with the velocity on his fastball.

Problem was, for years, Sandy Koufax couldn't hit a barn door.

But by the early 1960s, in Los Angeles, Koufax had finally figured out how to throw strikes. When he did that, every hitter in the National League was tempted to call in sick on days he was scheduled to pitch.

Thirty-seven years ago today in Chicago, Koufax struck out 18 batters in a game for the second time. He struck out the side three times and beat the Cubs in Wrigley Field, 10-2.

In 1959, in a Coliseum night game, Koufax struck out 18 Giants.

Koufax was 26 in 1962 and only he and Bob Feller had struck out 18 in a game. Feller did it in 1938. Today, Roger Clemens and Kerry Wood have pushed the record in a nine-inning game to 20.

It was the 32nd time in his eight-season career Koufax struck out 10 or more. He threw 144 pitches, 96 of them strikes.

With two innings to go, he needed four strikeouts to tie Feller a second time.

With one out in the eighth, he struck out Ken Hubbs. Then, after Billy Williams' leadoff home run in the ninth, he fanned Bob Will and Elder White. Moe Thacker singled, then Koufax glared down at a rookie pinch-hitter, Moe Morhardt.

Morhardt, who would have 34 at-bats in his major league career, watched strike three.

Also on this date: In 1958, the Dodgers' Duke Snider briefly carried around the nickname "Knucklehead." Challenged by teammate Don Zimmer, the strong-armed Snider attempted to throw a ball over the rim of the Coliseum, 106 feet high. He injured his arm on one of the five throws and an irate manager Walt Alston fined him $273. Zimmer was docked $25 for encouraging him. Snider said his third throw cleared the rim. . . . In 1963, Bob Cousy played in his final game for the Boston Celtics, leading them to a 112-109 win over the Lakers at the Sports Arena and to Boston's fifth straight championship. . . . In 1940, Joe Jacobs, boxing manager of heavyweights Max Schmeling and Tony Galento, died at 43 of a heart attack. . . . In 1954, former USC Trojan Parry O'Brien, closing in on the 60-foot barrier, broke the world shotput record with a mark of 59-5 3/4 at the Drake Relays. . . . In 1974, the NFL announced Tampa Bay, in exchange for a $16 million entry fee, would join the league as a 1976 expansion team.

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