LOS ANGELES ( Associated Press) — When Sandy Cofax joined the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1955, he was surprised to be on the same team with Jackie Robinson.
Now 67 years later, the two are immortalized in bronze at the entrance to Dodger Stadium.
Koufax’s statue was unveiled Saturday at Centerfield Plaza before the Los Angeles Dodgers faced the Cleveland Guardians. It is the second statue commissioned by the Dodgers after Robinson in 2017.
“It would have been absolutely unimaginable to share this space with them at that time. And even today, it is one of the biggest honors of my life,” said Koufax, 86.
The Cofax statue was announced in 2019 and was originally scheduled to be unveiled the following year, unless the coronavirus pandemic halted those plans. The Dodgers waited until this year, which might be more fitting.
It’s been 50 years since Cofax was one of the first Dodgers to retire along with Robinson and Roy Campanella. It also marks Coffax’s golden anniversary as the youngest player ever elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Koufax was a two-time World Series MVP with the Dodgers. The lefty won three Cy Young Awards, threw four no-hitters, and was 165–87 in a 12-year career with Brooklyn and Los Angeles.
The 19.5-ton statue was built by Branley Cadet, who also sculpted Robinson. As he prepares to throw, Sculpt grabs Koufax’s signature leg kick. It also shows Koufax a picture of determined and calm as he is in his windup.
Koufax chose the inspiration image for the statue. He also grabbed a baseball and took a picture of his left hand to capture the whole thing.
“I think I wanted to gain his strength, his focus and integrity more than anything else for me,” the cadet said. “Although he is a very calm and complete gentleman, there is a part of him that is just a fierce competitor.”
Former Dodgers manager Joe Torrey, who faced Coffax during his playing career, and Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw also spoke during the ceremony.
“I hope a child looks at the idol and asks their mom or dad about Sandy Coffax and I hope they tell him he was a great pitcher. But more than that he was a great man who took humility.” , represented the Dodgers with kindness, passion and class,” said Kershaw.
“And to every rookie who sees it for the first time and asks if he was good. I hope the veterans just tell him he was doing the best job ever,” he said.
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