Sandy Koufax Autographed Items At Spring Training

Thursday, legendary Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Sandy Koufax concluded his much talked about 10-day stint as a spring training special advisor for the only major league team he ever played for. Koufax's presence at Camelback Ranch (Dodgers Cactus League facility in Glendale, AZ) had an electrifying impact on both the Dodgers organization, as well as its large legion of fans.

Above is original video of the iconic lefty signing autographs for an amped up contingent of LA baseball lovers, during an earlier period of camp. The demand for Sandy Koufax autograph signings was so strong, an initial makeshift barrier was knocked over, courtesy of a group of stampeding autograph seekers. Sadly, the 77-year-old Koufax even had to endure a pen to the eye, as a result of the unbelievable desire to share a moment with one of baseball's all-time greats.

In a reaction to the Hall of Famer's rock star status, Dodgers brass would later erect a metal crowd barrier, anytime Sandy surrendered himself to an autograph session.  Talk about being beloved.

Koufax's appearance in Arizona involved significantly more than just a few photo opportunities with fans and media. The three-time Cy Young Award winner worked closely with many members of the LA pitching staff, particularly Clayton Kershaw, Josh Beckett and Chris Capuano.

For those readers who only know of the legend of Koufax, as opposed to the actual numbers he posted, here's a quick look back at the man who produced quite possibly the most remarkable six-year period (1961-1966) of any pitcher in baseball history.

During this stretch, Koufax averaged 22 victories per season, while leading the NL in ERA every year from 1962-1966. This early 60's run also included two World Series titles in 1963 and 1965 (Koufax was MVP of both Fall Classic's), as well as four no-hitter's. His 1965 perfect game still stands as one of the most memorable regular season achievements in history.

Unfortunately, for both Koufax and the baseball world, the Brooklyn native's 12-year career was cut short (after the 1966 season) due to chronic arthritis in his left arm. He was forced to leave the game at the all too young age of 30.

47 years after the seven-time All-Star pitched to his very last big league batter, it's absolutely extraordinary to witness the level of reverence felt by Dodger fans, anytime the great, and sometimes reclusive  Sandy Koufax appears in public.

Some athletes find themselves in a strata that transcends the sport they were a part of, Mr. Koufax happens to be one of those figures.