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Koufax Becomes First Unanimous Winner of Cy Young Award

Oct. 24, 1963 - Sandy Koufax (pictured after winning the first game of the World Series earlier this month) — the Dodgers’ fabulous southpaw who almost lost a finger and his baseball career a year ago — today produced another shutout. He became the first unanimous winner of the Cy Young Award as baseball’s outstanding pitcher. Koufax received all 20 votes cast by the designated committee of the Baseball Writers’ Association. Koufax, who heard about the honor today on his car radio, said he regarded the Cy Young Award as “probably the biggest awrd I’ve won.” He said he wouldn’t hazard a guess about his chances for the National League’s Most Valuable Player award, but he said, “I don’t think it will be a pitcher.” A circulatory ailment hit Koufax’s pitching hand in July 1962, costing the Dodgers his services and, in the opinion of most experts, the pennant. Doctors subsequently revealed Koufax had come perilously close to losing the finger by amputation before the condition improved. The 27-year-old Brooklyn-born Koufax led the Dodgers to the world championship this year with a 25-5 record and a National League record of 306 strikeouts in 311 innings. His 1.88 earned-run average was the lowest in both leagues. Koufax pitched a no-hitter against the Giants and twice defeated the Yankees during the Dodgers’ four-game sweep of the World Series. In the opener, Koufax fanned 15 batters, bettering by one the mark established 10 years earlier by his former teammate, Carl Erskine. The voting was conducted prior to the World Series. Koufax never played in the minors. He first came into his own when he posted an 18-13 record in 1961. He had a 14-7 record, including a no-hitter against the Mets, in 1962. In 1963, Koufax enjoyed his first 20-game winning campaign, hurled 20 complete games, and registered 11 shutouts — the most ever by a southpaw and the most since Grover Alexander pitched 16 for the Phillies in 1916.

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