Saturday, October 1, 2022


Still in shock, the Dodgers took the field on 10/1/62 in San Francisco after a 3-10 stretch in the second half of September that had seen them fall into a tie for first place on the final day of the season. They'd stopped hitting toward the end of that swoon, and the somewhat hasty return of Sandy Koufax had not arrested their fall. As Koufax explains in his autobiography, LA found itself in a drastic situation in terms of their starting rotation as the playoff series commenced:

"Our pitching staff was in terrible shape. [Johnny] Podres had pitched that afternoon [9/30] and had lost a tough 1-0 game. Don [Drysdale] had gone the day before and lost 2-0. During the trip to San Francisco, Walt Alston and [pitching coach] Joe Becker called me over to their seat to ask me if I thought I could go the next day. The message was clear enough: there wasn't anybody else. If I could give them four or five good innings, they could send the bullpen in to finish up."

So Koufax started the first playoff game against fellow lefty Billy Pierce, with a 11-0 record at Candlestick Park in 1962 (his inaugural season with the Giants). It did not go well for LA, and the first reason for this was Koufax, as he notes:

"I had nothing at all. The infuriating part of it was that I knew just where I was, as afar as my conditioning went. I was at the low point of the [spring] training drought. I know it sounds like an alibi, but that doesn't make it any less true. One more start, and I'd probably have been ready to come around.

One of the papers the next day said that I'd try to decoy the Giants by serving up slow stuff. I wish had: that wasn't a decoy, that was my fastball."

Willie Mays hit the first of two homers in the game against Koufax in the first; Jim Davenport hit one in the second, knocking Sandy out of the game. Ed Roebuck kept the game close for the next four innings, but Mays (#49) and Orlando Cepeda (#35) greeted Larry Sherry with back-to-back homers in the sixth, making it 5-0. Jose Pagan hit a bases-loaded double off Ron Perranoski to toss some more sand in LA's wounds. 

The first six hitters in the Dodger lineup went hitless against Pierce, who cruised to his 16th win of the year and 12th at home, throwing a three-hit shutout. The two teams then both boarded airplanes and flew back to Los Angeles, where the remainder of the playoff series (no matter how long or short) would be played. Final score: Giants 8, Dodgers 0.

SEASON RECORDS: SFG 102-61, LAD 101-62