Drysdale Didn’t Quite Have It This Day

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Times Staff Writer

For Game 1 of the 1965 World Series, Don Drysdale was named the starting pitcher for the Dodgers against the Minnesota Twins after Sandy Koufax had declined because the game was played on Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish year.

Drysdale gave up seven runs in three innings in an 8-2 loss.

Jane Leavy, author of “Sandy Koufax: A Lefty’s Legacy,” who spoke at the Pasadena Jewish Temple and Center on Sunday night, said that after the game Drysdale told Manager Walter Alston: “Hey, skip, bet you wish I was Jewish today too.”

Trivia time: The Dodgers beat the Twins, 4 games to 3, in the ’65 World Series. What was Koufax’s record in that Series?


A trusting sort: Leavy, who will appear at the Jewish Community Center in Costa Mesa tonight to promote the release of her book in paperback, said Koufax did not directly participate in its writing. But he told friends it was OK to talk to Leavy and agreed to verify biographical facts. So Leavy asked Koufax if he’d like to read the manuscript. He declined.

“It would be wrong for me to influence what you write,” she quoted Koufax as saying.

Mistaken identity: Leavy, a former Washington Post sportswriter, said the first time she entered a professional locker room was when she was working on a master’s degree at the Columbia University School of Journalism and doing a paper on Pulitzer Prize-winning sports columnist Red Smith. She went with Smith to the AFC championship game on Jan. 4, 1976, at Pittsburgh, where the Steelers beat the Oakland Raiders, 16-10.

Leavy, who had a credential with Smith’s name on it, was admitted to the Raider locker room by a security guard who made note of the name. When Raider Coach John Madden, startled to see a woman in the locker room, asked who she was, the security guard said, “She’s Red Smith.”

Madden only smiled.

Wrong approach: As Oregon prepared to play Washington at Seattle, Duck free safety Keith Lewis said, “When the Ducks win, we’ll be dancing on Washington’s W.”

The Oregon coaches subsequently banned Lewis from speaking to the media, but he was seen on TBS before the game saying, “I meant everything I said. We are not a fluke. We are going to back up everything I said, I promise you.”

Of course Oregon lost, 42-10.

Peace offering: Rich Perelman of “The Sports Insider” on KPLS pointed out that Jerry Greene of the Orlando Sentinel had a suggestion on how Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal can make up: “Kobe can give Shaq one of those $4-million rings.”


Silver lining: From Jim Armstrong of AOL Sports: “Hey, look at the bright side, Kobe. At least Shaq isn’t in your jury pool.”

Trivia answer: Koufax was 2-1 with a 0.38 earned-run average. He lost Game 2, but won Game 5 and Game 7.

And finally: When the Clippers were playing the Seattle SuperSonics in Japan, Charles Barkley said on TNT: “If we get lucky, maybe they will keep the Clippers over there.”

Larry Stewart can be reached at