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Yankees Talk Koufax

Sept. 26, 1963 - Roger Maris shed the corset encasing his ailing back today, went through an off-day workout with his Yankee teammates, and discussed Sandy Koufax of the Los Angeles. His back, he said, felt well enough so that he needed no more support than an elastic bandage around his midsection. Some newsmen prodded Maris about the prospect of facing Koufax. “Sure, he’s a good pitcher,” Maris conceded. “But we have a few hard throwers in our league too. Is Koufax any faster than Juan Pizarro of the White Sox?” he asked. “He’s not perfect. He has lost a few games, hasn’t he?” “And I’ll tell you another thing,” he added. “If I should go 0-for-4 against him, he won’t be the first pitcher ever to do it. But right now, I’m batting a thousand against Koufax. I faced him once in an All-Star game and got a hit.” Yankee skipper Ralph Houk was asked what his scouting reports said about Koufax. “What can a scouting report tell you about a guy like that?” he asked right back. “You look at his record, and that’s enough of a report right there.” Whitey Ford was asked about facing the man who fired 11 shutouts in the National League this year. “I don’t worry about opposing pitchers,” said White, laughing. “I let the hitters do that. I just try to hold the other team.” He thought a moment, then added: “I’ve pitched against some pretty good ones from that league before this” — and he rolled off the names of Erskine, Spahn, and Newcombe. “He lost five games this year, didn’t he?” demanded Johnny Blanchard. “Somebody must have beaten him, so why not us?” Blanchard took a practice swing in the air, then said: “Look, what can you say about him? He’s one hell of a pitcher, and if he’s on, he’ll be rough.”


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