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Dodgers Take Game 1 of Series as Koufax Fans 15

Oct. 2, 1963 - The Dodgers defeated the Yankees, 5-2, in the first game of the 1963 World Series today in the Bronx. The man of the day was 27-year-old Sandy Koufax, who set a Series record by striking out 15 batters. The crowd of 69,000 was there to see a pitching duel between Koufax and Whitey Ford, the left-handed ace of the Yankees. But the Dodgers made it no contest with four runs off Ford in the second inning. Koufax did the rest. The Brooklyn-born left-hander wiped out the Series record set exactly 10 years ago, on Oct. 2, 1953, by another Dodger pitcher against another Yankee team. The pitcher was Carl Erskine, a right-hander, and he struck out 14 batters at Ebbets Field in the days when the Dodgers called Brooklyn home. In his one previous World Series start — against the White Sox in 1959 — Koufax had lost, 1-0. The Dodgers finally got him some Series runs with their second-inning outburst against Ford. Three of the four runs were tallied on a homer by Koufax’s catcher, John Roseboro. In the third, the 35-year-old Ford yielded another run, and that was all the scoring until the eighth. In that inning, the Yankees broke Koufax’s scoreless string with a two-run homer by Tom Tresh. But Koufax, who had struck out the first five batters he faced — Tony Kubek, Bobby Richardson, Tresh, Mickey Mantle, and Roger Maris — hung on for the victory. Naturally happy with the result, Koufax nevertheless offered the opinion that this was not his “best game.” “I lost my rhythm in the middle innings,” he said. “Probably because I was pitching too fast. And I got a little tired around the sixth and seventh. But the fastball started coming back, and I finished strong. The best thing about my pitching today was control.” Sandy said he was well aware that he had tied Erskine’s record when he fanned Bobby Richardson in the eighth. “I thought to myself, I’d like to get that 15th strikeout in the ninth. But my emotions were mixed on that score. I remember Carl coming to me in the 1959 Series when I pitched against Chicago. He said to me that day, ‘Sandy, I’d like to see you break my record.’ I knew he was rooting for me today, so I was just a little sad as well as glad when I broke the record.” Koufax, who didn’t allow a hit until there were two out in the fifth, was asked if he had thought about a no-hitter earlier. “I didn’t even give a damn,” he said. Probably the most elated player in the Dodger clubhouse was Moose Skowron, who had two hits today. “Even though I had a real bad year, Alston never gave up on me. I was glad I could repay that confidence he showed in me. Whitey didn’t have it today, but he’s a great pitcher.”


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