Tag Archives: hof

Dec. 7, 1939 – Lou Gehrig was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum

Lou Gehrig was the first player to have the rule waived that required a player to be retired one year before he could be elected. At age 36, he was the second youngest player to be so honored (behind Sandy Koufax). He never had a formal induction ceremony. On July 28, 2013, he and eleven other deceased players including Rogers Hornsby received a special tribute during the Induction Ceremony, held during “Hall of Fame Induction Weekend”, July 26–29 in Cooperstown, New York.

Did You Know:
Gehrig was the first baseball player to have his uniform number retired?

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Nov. 18, 1966 – Sandy Koufax retired from baseball at age 30

He was just 30 years old, and he was retiring after a great season—he’d led the Dodgers to a National League pennant and won his third Cy Young Award. But he had chronic arthritis in his pitching arm, and he was afraid that if he kept playing baseball, eventually he wouldn’t be able to use his left hand at all. Koufax’s line in his final season, all while battling the pain: 27-9, 1.73 ERA, 317 strikeouts and 77 walks in 323 innings.

“In those days there was no surgery,” Koufax said much later. “The wisdom was if you went in there, it would only make things worse and your career would be over, anyway. Now you go in, fix it, and you’re OK for next spring.”

In 1961, Koufax really hit his stride: He went 18-13 and led the majors in strikeouts, something he would do four times between 1961 and 1966. Meanwhile, during those six seasons he led the league three times in wins and shutouts, and twice he threw more complete games than any other pitcher. He set a new major-league season strikeout record—382—in 1965. (Only Nolan Ryan has since struck out more batters in a single season.) Koufax threw one no-hitter every year from 1962 to 1965, and in 1965 he threw a perfect game. His pitches were notoriously difficult to hit; getting the bat on a Koufax fastball, Pittsburgh’s Willie Stargell once said, was like “trying to drink coffee with a fork.”

Koufax is also remembered as one of the outstanding Jewish athletes in American sports. His decision not to pitch Game 1 of the 1965 World Series because it fell on Yom Kippur garnered national attention as an example of conflict between professional pressures and personal beliefs. In 1971, the 36-year-old Koufax became the youngest person ever to be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Nov. 15, 1960 – Elgin Baylor scored 71 points against the New York Knicks

From the 1960-61 to the 1962-63 seasons, Elgin Baylor of the Los Angeles Lakers averaged 34.8, 38.3 and 34.0 points per game, respectively. On November 15 of the 1960-61 season, Baylor set a new NBA scoring record when he scored 71 points in a victory against the New York Knicks, in Madison Square Garden, while grabbing 25 rebounds. In doing so, Baylor had broken his own NBA record of 64 points that he had set in the previous season.

“He was one of the most spectacular shooters the game has ever known. I hear people talking about forwards today and I haven’t seen many that can compare with him.” – Former teammate and NBA Legend Jerry West

Baylor, a United States Army Reservist, was called to active duty during the 1961-62 season, and being stationed in Washington state, he could play for the Lakers only when on a weekend pass. Despite playing only 48 games during the 1961–62 season, he still managed to score over 1,800 points. Later that season, in a game five NBA Finals victory against the Boston Celtics, Baylor grabbed 22 rebounds and set the still-standing NBA record for points in an NBA Finals game with 61.

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