There were a lot of cool moments in the Dodgers’ clubhouse as they celebrated winning their division playoff series Monday night, but the coolest of the cool was easily Sandy Koufax seeking out Clayton Kershaw.
Koufax placed his arms around Kershaw’s neck and shared a few words as cameras clicked away. One legendary Dodgers left-hander congratulating another left-handed legend in the making.
“I mean, he's just happy for us,” Kershaw said. “Sandy is such a great guy. I think he genuinely cares about not only this team but kind of our well-being. He cares about us. That's awesome. I have a great relationship with him. I have a ton of respect for him.
“To get a hug and get a 'good job' from a guy like that, from a guy that's been there, from a guy that's done this before and was the best at it for a long time is pretty special.”
Koufax, who normally avoids media attention, left the clubhouse but remained in an adjoining foyer, outside of champagne distance but still able to view the locker room celebration. He even did several interviews, almost like he wanted to sing Kershaw’s praises.
The two have formed a special bond, Koufax offering tips over the last few seasons. They are members of a rare club.
“I haven’t helped him,” Koufax said. “The first time I saw him I knew he was special. And he’s such a good person.
“He’s not the next me, he’s the first Clayton Kershaw. He doesn’t deserve to be compared.”
That’s unavoidable, of course. Both are/were left-handed aces for the Dodgers. And on this night, Kershaw was pitching on short rest in the playoffs to help his team clinch, just as Koufax had done for the Dodgers to win Game 7 of the 1965 World Series.
“You do that at the end of the season,” Koufax said. “I thought it was a great move.”