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On This Date in Sports June 30, 1962: Sandy's First No Hitter

In collaboration with the Sportsecyclopedia.com

Sandy Koufax becomes the first member of the Dodgers to throw a no-hitter after the move to Los Angeles, as he blanks the expansion New York Mets 5-0 at Dodger Stadium. Koufax’s night started immaculately as he struck out Richie Ashburn, Rod Kanehl, and Felix Mantilla on nine pitches. Sandy Koufax would strike out 13 Mets to improve to 11-4 on the season.

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Sandy Koufax, like the Dodgers, was from Brooklyn. He signed out of Lafayette High School in 1954 and made his debut in 1955. However, the left fireballer was not an overnight success, as he was often inconsistent in his first six seasons, posting an overall record of 36-40 before the 1961 season. That year would see Koufax begin to find himself, as he was named an All-Star for the first time posting a record of 18-13.

When he arrived for the start of the 1962 season, Sandy Koufax was prepared to dominate. Off to a 10-4 start, Koufax started against the expansion Mets. The Dodgers were battling for the pennant for manager Walter Alston at 50-29; the Mets were on their way to 120 losses sitting at 20-52 with Casey Stengel at the helm. The Mets had stunned the Dodgers one day earlier and had Bob Miller on the mound. After Sandy Koufax opened the game with an immaculate inning striking out Richie Ashburn, Rod Kanehl, and Felix Mantilla, the Dodgers got four runs in the first inning, as Willie Davis had a two-out triple and scored on a single by Tommy Davis. The Dodgers would get an RBI single from Frank Howard and a two-run double by Johnny Roseboro. 

Bob Miller would get an early shower as Ray Daviault came on to get the final out in the inning. Daviault pitched well for the Mets, allowing one run on six hits while pitching seven and one-third inning. The Dodgers' fifth run came courtesy of a Frank Howard home run in the seventh inning. Sandy Koufax was untouchable, walking five and striking out 13, as he held the Mets hitless. The game ended on three consecutive force plays at second, as Gene Woodling walked to lead off the ninth, with Ashburn, Kanehl, and Mantilla each hitting a grounder to Maury Wills at short. 

Over the final five years of his career, Koufax posted a record of 111-44, leading the National League in ERA all five seasons while winning three Cy Young Awards during an era when there was just one award for the entire majors. Koufax was the first multiple winner of the Cy Young Award, adding a National League MVP in 1963 and two World Series MVPs. During this period, Koufax set a record by becoming the first pitcher to throw four career no-hitters. Sandy’s no-hitters came annual, with the one against the Mets being his first. He would throw his second career no-hitter against the San Francisco Giants on May 11, 1963. Sandy Koufax threw his third no-hitter on June 4, 1964, against the Philadelphia Phillies, with his final no-hitter topping them all as he tossed a perfect game against the Chicago Cubs on September 9, 1965.

Despite his overwhelming success in the regular season and playoffs and seemingly being unstoppable, Sandy Koufax retired following the 1966 season at 30 due to an arthritic elbow. Six years later, Koufax would be the youngest member of the Baseball Hall of Fame, making it to Cooperstown on his first ballot in 1972.