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Koufax Acclaims Mets Fans

May 31, 1962 - “That was the most exciting game I ever pitched in my life,” said Sandy Koufax today. This was a rather astonishing statement because he was talking about the victory he scored yesterday for the Dodgers in the opener of the Memorial Day doubleheader against the Mets at the Polo Grounds before a howling mob of 55,704. After all, Koufax pitched before a gathering of 92,706 in a world series game that the Dodgers lost to the White Sox, 1-0. He also once fanned 18 Giants before some 83,000, equaling the strikeout record held by Bob Feller. “Maybe it was just being back in the big town again,” said the Brooklyn-born left-hander. “I was higher than a kite. It was an emotional jag, and I couldn’t relax. That crowd was unbelievable, and it added to the excitement. They never stopped cheering for the Mets, no matter how hopelessly out of it they were. That’s what startled us so much. We never expected the fans to cheer for the Dodgers — some might be a little bit mad at our leaving — but we were surprised that the Mets could get and hold such a following so fast. I guess National League fans wouldn’t settle for anything less than a team of their own. I was lucky, though, that our hitters gave me a lot of runs.”

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