Never has a pitcher been as dominant as Sandy Koufax was in his prime. Before arm injuries forced him into early retirement, the Dodgers' lefty crippled hitters over a five-year period in ways no hurler ever has.

Koufax broke into baseball with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1955, but it was not until 1961 that he asserted his dominance. Nonetheless, Koufax’s most collectible baseball cards come from his early years.

There is only one recognized Koufax rookie card: a 1955 Topps. Koufax was not the only star to have a 1955 Topps rookie card. Future Hall of Famers Roberto Clemente and Harmon Killebrew did as well.

The card shows a headshot of a boyish Koufax—it looks like he has yet to take his first shave—set against a yellow background. The card is not considered too difficult to find, though it is rarely in high-grade because it is prone to poor centering.

Koufax was not the centerpiece of the Dodgers team that won the World Series that year. In fact, he only pitched in 12 games in the 1955 season.

Two years later, while Koufax was still a middling pitcher, Topps released its most striking Koufax card. The 1957 Topps shows a close up of Koufax wearing a Brooklyn Dodgers cap—it was the team’s last year in Brooklyn before moving to Los Angeles—with his famously infectious smile from ear to ear. Like the entire 1957 Topps set, this card is often found poorly centered and with border toning.

After the 1957 season, the Dodgers headed west. To commemorate the move, Bell Brand, a corn and potato chip company, released a ten-card regional set of all Dodgers. Bell Brand a...

The black-and-white Koufax card shows the lefty crouched down, as if he had just delivered a pitch to the plate. It’s a great image, but because the card came in bags of potato chips, it is very difficult to find in good condition.

At the time all of those Koufax cards were printed, few would have thought they would one day be extremely collectible. Koufax was a rather mediocre hurler stuck in the middle of the Dodgers rotation.

All that changed in 1961.

That was the year Koufax went 18-13, striking out a league-leading 269 batters en route to his first All-Star game. Koufax had finally realized the potential that made Dodgers scout Al Campanis famously remark, “There are two times in my life the hair on my arms has stood up: The first time I saw the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and the first time I saw Sandy Koufax throw a fastball.”

From 1962 to 1966, Koufax led the National League in ERA every year, won three Cy Young awards, one MVP award, two World Series championships, and two World Series MVPs to go with those titles.

Unfortunately, despite his success, Koufax was constantly enduring serious arm pain. He was forced to medicate himself heavily before and between starts, and after the 1966 season his arm could not take it anymore: he was forced to retire in the heart of his prime at the age of 31. When he was inducted into the Hall of Fame five years later, he became the youngest player ever to enter that illustrious club.

It is a wonder to consider what Koufax could have done had his left arm not failed him. Even with his early retirement, Koufax threw four no-hitters—a record at the time that was later broken by Nolan Ryan—including one perfect game.

In addition to his on-the-field dominance, Koufax is also remembered as one of baseball’s rare Jewish stars, which made him an idol to Jewish kids everywhere. The observant Koufax, a Brooklyn native, refused to pitch Game 1 of the 1965 World Series because it fell on Yom Kippur, the holiest day on the Jewish calendar. Nonetheless, the Dodgers would win that World Series, and Koufax would be named the series’ MVP.

Popular Koufax collectibles today include his game used #32 jerseys, autographed baseballs and photographs, and even autographed copies of the April 13, 1964, issue of “Sports Illustrated,” which had a drawing of Koufax on the cover.

On rare occasions, game-used Koufax gloves are made available to well-heeled collectors. Koufax’s Spalding glove that he wore during his 1963 no-hitter sold for six-figures in 2004, as did a glove he used during his final season, which was sold in 2009.

About our sources | Got something to add?

▼ Expand to read the full article ▼

Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Old Cardboard

Old Cardboard

Check out this well-organized collection of 500 sets of baseball cards, each over 50 years old. Browsable by type a… [read review or visit site]

The Baseball Card Blog

The Baseball Card Blog

Ben Henry's lively vintage baseball card blog, started in January 2006, offers hundreds of great posts on (and pict… [read review or visit site]

Cardboard Junkie

Cardboard Junkie

Dave Campbell's in-depth blog on old baseball (and some football) cards lives up to it's motto: 'do cards, not drug… [read review or visit site]

Baseball Cards 1887-1914

Baseball Cards 1887-1914

Roll up your socks for this Library of Congress collection showcasing hundreds of players on colorful early basebal… [read review or visit site]

Baseball Hall of Fame

Baseball Hall of Fame

A home run for baseball collectors, this site features special online exhibits, ranging from a baseball-uniforms da… [read review or visit site]



Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

1955 Topps Sandy Koufax Rookie Rc #123 Psa 7 Nrmt (pwcc)1955 Topps Sandy Koufax Rookie Rc #123 Psa 7 Nrmt (pwcc)1956 Topps Mid-hi Grade Nr Complete Set Mantle Mays Clemente Koufax, Psa (pwcc)2014 Finest Greats Sandy Koufax Black Refractor Sp Auto /99 Bgs 10 Pristine1957 Topps Sandy Koufax #302 Sgc 9/96 Mint (pwcc)Los Angeles Dodgers Sga 8/13/15 Sandy Koufax Bobblehead- New In Box!∎ 1955 Topps Baseball Card Sandy Koufax Rc #123 **awesome**1955 Topps Sandy Koufax Rookie Rc Bvg 6.5 Sp ClassicSandy Koufax Signed Baseball Spring Training Hof Dodgers Romlb.1955 Topps Sandy Koufax Rookie Rc #123 Psa 6 Exmt (pwcc)Sandy Koufax "9/9/65" Hand Signed Mlb Baseball Psa/dna Graded 9 W/10 Full LoaSandy Koufax Signed Autographed Baseball Dodgers Hall Of Fame Jsa Y694781955 Topps #123 Sandy Koufax Rookie ( No Creases ) Super Clean Looking Card1955 Topps Sandy Koufax Rookie Rc #123 Psa 6.5 Exmt+ (pwcc)Sandy Koufax 1955 55 Topps #123 Rc Rookie Card Brooklyn Dodgers Psa 3 VgLot(24) 1958-94 Topps Fleer Ernie Banks Mays Koufax Drysdale Ripken Jr Rc (pwcc)1957 Topps Mid-grade Complete Set Mantle Mays Koufax Clemente Aaron, Psa (pwcc)2015 Topps Tribute Victors Sandy Koufax Silver Auto Autograph #'d /15!Sandy Koufax Bobblehead New In Box Los Angeles Dodgers1955 Topps Sandy Koufax Rookie Rc #123 Bvg 6 Exmt (pwcc)1955 Topps Sandy Koufax Rookie Rc #123 Bvg 3 Vg (pwcc)1955 Topps Sandy Koufax #123 Rc Rookie Dodgers See Picture1956 Topps Sandy Koufax White Back #79 Psa 6 Exmt (pwcc)Sandy Koufax Dodgers Bobblehead No-hittier 2015 Sga Stadium Giveaway NewSandy Koufax Bobblehead 2015 - Dodgers 8/13Los Angeles Dodgers Sandy Koufax And Vin Scully Bobblehead Sga 9/23/15Vintage Baseball Card Lot Hof Mantle Banks Koufax Spahn Kaline Poor Condition1963 Topps #210 Sandy Koufax Hof Dodgers Psa 8 Nm-mt Centered " High End "1957 Topps Scrap Book Partial Set W/ Mickey Mantle Koufax Berra Drysdale (pwcc)Sandy Koufax Yogi Berra 2010 Leaf Sports Icons Update Dual Auto Cut Signatue /2 1960's Topps Baseball Card Lot Sandy Koufax Mickey Mantle Willie Mays (3)1956 Topps #79 Sandy Koufax 2nd Year Gray Back Dodgers Psa 7 *5542731965 Topps Set Break #300 Sandy Koufax Psa 7 Nm L25081963 Topps # 210 Sandy Koufax Sgc 7 Nm Psa?1966 Topps Baseball Mickey Mantle #50, Koufax #100,banks #110,pete Rose#30 [29]1959 Topps Baseball Sandy Koufax #163 Ex Dodgers 1959 Topps Mid-grd Nr Complete Set Mantle Mays Aaron Koufax Berra, Psa (pwcc)1955 Topps Sandy Koufax Rookie Rc #123 Bvg 2 Gd (pwcc)Sandy Koufax Dodgers Bobblehead Stadium Giveaway 20152015 Los Angeles Dodgers Sandy Koufax Bobblehead Sga 8/13/15 Reds New La Stadium2015 Los Angeles Dodgers Sandy Koufax Bobblehead Sga 8/13/15 Reds New La Stadium285+ 1964 Topps Card Lot Mays Koufax Maris Clemente Aaron Conigliaro Rc Stars Vg1956 Topps Sandy Koufax White Back #79 Sgc 7/84 Nrmt (pwcc)1957 Topps Sandy Koufax #302 Psa 6 Exmt (pwcc)Vintage 1955 Topps #123 Sandy Koufax Brooklyn Dodgers Hof Rookie Baseball Card1955 Topps Sandy Koufax Hof Rookie - Bvg 21961 Topps Sandy Koufax #344 Psa 7 Nm Near Mint DodgersSandy Koufax Dodgers Bobblehead Stadium Giveaway 20151960 Topps Mid-hi Grd Complete Set Mantle Clemente Koufax Mccovey Rc, Psa (pwcc)1964 Topps #200 Sandy Koufax Dodgers Psa 8 Well Centered *5543811957 Topps Sandy Koufax #302 Psa 5 Ex (pwcc)1956 Topps #79 Sandy Koufax Brooklyn Dodgers Hof White Back Psa 4 Vg-exSandy Koufax Signed Jersey1958 Topps #187 Sandy Koufax Hof Los Angeles Dodgers Sgc 88 Nm/mt 8 " High End "1960 Topps #343 Sandy Koufax Dodgers Psa 8 *5543821959 Topps Low-mid Grade Nr Complete Set Mantle Gibson Koufax Clemente (pwcc)Hof's Mickey Mantle-sandy Koufax-yankees-dodgers-lot(8)elston Howard-ralph TerrySandy Koufax Dodgers Bobblehead 2015 Sga NewLos Angeles Dodgers Sandy Koufax Bobblehead 8/13/2015 Sga Baseball La1962 Topps #5 Sandy Koufax Hall-of-fame Dodgers Pitcher Bvg 6 Ex-mt Great Card

Recent News: Sandy Koufax Memorabilia

Source: Google News

Steve Soboroff's famous typewriter collection has many stories to tell
ABC News, September 3rd

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. -- Steve Soboroff still becomes awestruck when he thinks about how he got here. As he stands in a museum surrounded by 33 typewriters that were owned by some of the world's most famous (John Lennon and Ernest Hemingway) ...Read more

Sandy Koufax: Five amazing moments in the pitcher's legendary career
New York Daily News, August 31st

Sandy Koufax's career might have ended before anyone was ready to see him go, but the legendary lefty still managed to pitch his way into the Hall of Fame with countless superb performances. On August 31, 1959, the Dodgers ace — two seasons after the ...Read more

Jake Arrieta meets the moment
Chicago Tribune (blog), August 30th

Jake Arrieta finally delivered the no-hitter he has threatened several times the last few seasons. On the same mound where Sandy Koufax was perfect against the Cubs almost 50 years ago, Cubs starter Jake Arrieta made some history of his own Sunday...Read more

Fifty years after Giants' Juan Marichal hit Dodgers' John Roseboro with a bat ...
Los Angeles Times, August 22nd

Fifty years ago this weekend, the San Francisco Giants' Juan Marichal brought a baseball bat down upon the head of the Dodgers' John Roseboro in a pounding moment in sports history. It was a brawl that forever defined one of sports' fiercest rivalries...Read more

Sandy Koufax at his Longest, Lithest, and Louchest
Down The Drive (blog), August 22nd

Everyone who ever paid my way into a baseball game told me he was the greatest pitcher there ever was. Today's video vault proves my loved ones correct. Look at the length, litheness, and louche-ness with which Sandy Koufax thrust forth from the mound ...Read more

Clayton Kershaw ties a Sandy Koufax record as Dodgers beat Nationals 3-0 ...
NOLA.com, August 12th

LOS ANGELES — Clayton Kershaw tied Sandy Koufax's franchise record of six straight 200-strikeout seasons while tossing eight scoreless innings, and NL West-leading Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the Washington Nationals 3-0 on Wednesday night...Read more

Seen on Scene: Sandy Koufax World Series
Examiner Enterprise, August 8th

Baseball fans enjoy the Sandy Koufax World Series held at Bill Doenges Memorial Stadium in downtown Bartlesville. To view a gallery of photos from the tournament, visit http://eephotos.mycapture.com/mycapture/folder.asp?event=1962643&Categor...Read more

Koufax provides nearly $1M in local impact
Examiner Enterprise, August 6th

“The Sandy Koufax World Series went from $260,000 economic impact in 2014 to $932,000 this year (including the qualifier),” said BSC member Debbie Mueggenborg. “What a difference a few out-of-town guests can make. This tournament, plus the Winget, ...Read more