Sandy Koufax was welcomed by Dodger fans and the team Sunday as he arrived in Glendale, Arizona to begin his one-year job as Special Advisor to Mark Walter for the Dodgers. The legendary southpaw began to quickly get to work as he arrived during the final portion of a practice session on Sunday. Koufax and Rick Honeycutt worked with a group of pitchers including Opening Day starter Clayton Kershaw on the ever important pickoff move.
Koufax will stay for 7-10 days at Camelback Ranch as he begins his official return to the Dodgers. Sandy has been to the Camelback Ranch facility in the past to visit, but he was not an actual employee of the Dodgers at the time. He also occasionally gave advisement to the New York Mets who are owned by his childhood friend Fred Wilpon.
Some lucky Dodger fans were able to see Sandy on Sunday, and a few even luckier Dodger fans had the opportunity to get the icon’s autograph.
When reminiscing about his time with the Dodgers, Sandy had this to say:
"“It’s the only organization I’ve played in or been in. I came in with Jackie [Robinson], John [Roseboro], Duke [Snider] and played with Willie [Davis] and Don [Drysdale] and Maury [Wills]. I’d like to see the organization be a winner again. I don’t know if I can do that much, but hopefully I can help.”"
He cited that the reason he never took another official job with any other organization even when they were offered was because he considers himself a lifelong Dodger.
Feb 19, 2011; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; Sandy Koufax watches as New York Mets pitchers Chris Capuano (38) delivers a pitch during bullpen session at New York Mets Spring Training workout at Digital Domain Park . Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray/THE STAR-LEDGER via USA TODAY Sports
He is also scheduled to attend the old-timers game on June 6th at Dodger Stadium which will celebrate the 50-year anniversary of the 1963 World Series championship team.
Many young pitchers cherish Sandy’s advise, and he has been credited as being able to communicate with young pitchers in a simple and easy to understand way. When he previously visited Dodger Spring Training camp he met with Clayton Kershaw who has been compared to Koufax. Having Sandy as a part of the Dodger family once again is a priceless commodity.
Sandy will be back in Blue on Monday, and he will be wearing No. 32.