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Walter Alston and Sandy Koufax: Two Views
2003-02-26 08:28
by Jon Weisman
Note: The Dodger Thoughts blog has moved to the Los Angeles Times.

Bill James, The Bill James Guide to Baseball Mangers:

Was he more of an optimist or more of a problem solver? An optimist. Alston waited for six and a half years for Sandy Koufax to find home plate. I doubt that any other manager in baseball history would have, except perhaps Connie Mack.

Jane Leavy, Sandy Koufax: A Lefty’s Legacy:

"The only thing that bothered Sandy was when he threw two or three balls, they got somebody up in the bullpen," said (Joe) Pignatano. Often, it seemed, Alston had someone warming up in the first inning. Red Adams, who later became the Dodger pitching coach, said, "Walter didn't have a lot of scout in him."

Jackie Robinson, then in his final season, clashed with Alston on many subjects, including Koufax. (Tom) Villante, who was affiliated with the Dodgers throughout the fifties and sixties, said, "The one thing about Jackie was, no matter who the hell you were, Jackie appreciated talent. If you were good, he was on your side. I think he saw that in Sandy. Added to that was the fact Jackie Robinson did not like Alston.

"Jackie always thought Alston was dumb. And the very fact that Sandy would every so often show this terrific flash of brilliance and pitch a terrific game and not pitch again for thirty days would add to Jackie saying how dumb this guy was."

Eventually, reporters began to question why Koufax was "wasting his life" in idleness.

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