We all know how Sandy Koufax, star pitcher for the L.A. Dodgers, spent Yom Kippur in 1965: Not playing in the first game of the World Series, a major statement about his priorities as a Jew.
Robert Katz, however, thinks Koufax should get more credit for how he spent his post-Yom Kippur evening in 1961.
After all, Koufax — now 87 — continues to spend his Yom Kippurs away from the baseball diamond, as indeed, almost certainly, will you.
But are you planning to spend your post-Yom Kippur evening the way Koufax did 62 years ago?
Here’s how Mr. Katz, who lives in Fair Lawn and owns Bergen County Sports Cards in Bergenfield, tells the story:
“In 1961, Yom Kippur fell out on the evening of September 19th and the day of September 20th. Koufax wasn’t supposed to pitch on the 19th, but he was scheduled for the 20th — a night game, against the Chicago Cubs.
“All day on the 20th he fasted. Game time came at 8 o’clock, and not only did he pitch 13 full innings for a complete-game win, he struck out 15 batters on 205 pitches while he fasted the entire day. Today pitchers barely go seven innings.
“On top it all, it was his 18th win of the year — chai! — and his 54th career win — 3 times chai!”
If you’d like to see this post-fasting feat for yourself — well, Mr. Katz, a longtime collector of sports memorabilia, has an unused ticket for that game for sale, which would be useful if you have a time machine. And if you don’t have a time machine, you might be interested in a ticket stub from that more famous 1965 game at which Sandy Koufax earned his eternal fame by not showing up.