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Go Back   Net54baseball.com Forums > Net54baseball Postwar Sportscard Forums > Postwar Baseball Cards Forum (Pre-1980)

View Poll Results: Who do you choose?
Clemente 67 63.81%
Koufax 38 36.19%
Voters: 105. You may not vote on this poll

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  #1  
Old 04-09-2019, 10:03 PM
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Default Clemente or Koufax?

The title says it all. Both have 1955 Topps RCs; both are top-tier HOFers and in the conversations for greatest ever at their postions; both had careers cut short (though Clemente was nearing the end of his career).

Who do you choose? Mary Ann or Ginger? Clemente of Koufax? Roberto or Sandy?

I'm interested in hearing what the dealers/sellers have to say (though everyone is welcome to chime in and vote) as they should have a finger on the pulse of the demand. So not targeting RCs here specifically.
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Old 04-09-2019, 10:21 PM
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Here in SoCal the answer is pretty simple.

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Old 04-09-2019, 10:28 PM
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Default No contest

Perhaps everywhere with the (possible) exception of southern cal - Clemente! Koufax doesn't come close in terms of collector interest or demand. The only post war player I'm aware of that is ahead of Clemente is Mantle.

and

since you asked - Ginger!

full disclose - I don't own the scanned card.
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Old 04-09-2019, 11:28 PM
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Loved Clemente, about as talented and fun to watch as anyone.

But I'm a Koufax guy. My father, a Yankee fan for life, took me to see him pitch in Shea Stadium in 65 or 66. It was a doubleheader and Koufax won the first game. Then, when it was over, my Dad did something he'd never done in all our trips to the ballpark, he said "Let's go." I was disappointed to leave before the second game but he explained that we'd seen Koufax pitch and nothing that day could be as good.
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Old 04-16-2019, 09:41 PM
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When it come to these two players, even the sound of their names has a certain cachet. But I give the narrow nod to Koufax.
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Old 04-17-2019, 12:15 AM
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I think they are both legendary athletes. Koufax, in my opinion, has an undeniable panache and personifies baseball's California cool. However, its Clemente hands down in my house. Baseballs sportsmanship and community service award carries his name. There are also 45 schools and 200 parks named in his honor in places ranging from Puerto Rico to Germany. He is a transcendent figure in baseball and is the Jackie Robinson for generations of Latinos like me. If Jackie Robinson is MLB baseball's conscience, Roberto Clemente is the games patron saint.
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  #7  
Old 04-17-2019, 06:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 71buc View Post
I think they are both legendary athletes. Koufax, I'm my opinion, has an undeniable panache and personifies baseball's California cool. However, its Clemente hands down in my house. Baseballs sportsmanship and community service award carries his name. There are also 45 schools and 200 parks named in his honor in places ranging from Puerto Rico to Germany. He is a transcendent figure in baseball and is the Jackie Robinson for generations of Latinos like me. If Jackie Robinson is MLB baseball's conscience, Roberto Clemente is the games patron saint.
IMO, not even close. "Momen"
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Old 04-17-2019, 02:05 PM
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I was a SoCal kid...

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Old 04-17-2019, 03:22 PM
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That is a tough call - apples / oranges.

I never saw Koufax play. I caught the last few years of Clemente's career.

Clemente's career last much longer and more quality years, Koufax had about 4 or 5.

Both were great in the post season.

And were winners on teams that otherwise would of been long forgotten.
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  #10  
Old 04-18-2019, 09:18 AM
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Collectability?

Clemente.

Value?

Clemente

His legacy will always be more than of Sandy. Therefore, demand will always be higher.

Just my opinion of course.
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Old 04-19-2019, 01:33 AM
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Goose for what?
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Old 04-19-2019, 08:03 AM
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Not to take anything away from Koufax as far as baseball or pitching is concerned, but Clemente is bigger than baseball. Koufax is not.
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Old 04-19-2019, 06:50 PM
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Originally Posted by tschock View Post
Not to take anything away from Koufax as far as baseball or pitching is concerned, but Clemente is bigger than baseball. Koufax is not.
Good point, and probably gets at the very core of it...
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Old 04-19-2019, 07:08 PM
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A Jewish pitcher in the 50's/60's who bravely stood up for his principles isn't beyond the game??? Come on!!!
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Old 04-19-2019, 07:59 PM
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Default He didn't say beyond the game

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Originally Posted by JollyElm View Post
A Jewish pitcher in the 50's/60's who bravely stood up for his principles isn't beyond the game??? Come on!!!
He said "bigger" than the game and imho opinion while Koufax was a GREAT pitcher who played for a great team and took a stand on a Jewish holiday AND deserves respect, adoration and a whole lot more.......... he was not Clemente. Clement the player, Clemente the Hispanic player, Clemente the player who I suspect faced much greater adversity (how many times did Koufax have to sleep in a different hotel than his team?), Clemente who consistently and visibly gave back to children, Clemente who died a hero trying to help and save others. C'mon guys, really.

How many parks and/or schools are named after Koufax?
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Old 04-19-2019, 08:51 PM
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Originally Posted by hcv123 View Post
He said "bigger" than the game and imho opinion while Koufax was a GREAT pitcher who played for a great team and took a stand on a Jewish holiday AND deserves respect, adoration and a whole lot more.......... he was not Clemente. Clement the player, Clemente the Hispanic player, Clemente the player who I suspect faced much greater adversity (how many times did Koufax have to sleep in a different hotel than his team?), Clemente who consistently and visibly gave back to children, Clemente who died a hero trying to help and save others. C'mon guys, really.

How many parks and/or schools are named after Koufax?
So only standing up for your beliefs counts if you're the right color?? And I'm glad to know that naming schools or parks after a person is the main thing that counts in your world. Is Thomas Jefferson going to still be considered great after the snowflakes demand his name be removed from parks, schools and other places?
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Old 04-19-2019, 09:10 PM
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Clemente died while trying to get aid to people who desperately needed it. Factoring in the fact he was afraid of airplanes and flying over water, which is exactly the risk he took and the way he died, and the legacy he left really does go beyond the game where people try to hit a little ball with a piece of wood.

I have on CD an interview Clemente gave, before the final game at Forbes Field on June 28, 1970. Asked what he hoped to accomplish in baseball, he replied he wanted to get 3,000 hits. That is exactly the number he had when he died.

I never understood all the accolades Koufax received for refusing to pitch Game 1 of the 1965 World Series. He pitched Game 2, Game 5, and Game 7, so what difference did it make? I'm not being critical; just noting that Game 1, Game 2, they both count the same.

Koufax will be remembered as a great pitcher; Clemente as just plain great, in every single way.

And, Mary Ann. Besides being nicer she was also way cuter, even though they couldn't show her belly button.
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Old 04-19-2019, 11:15 PM
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Default really!?

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Originally Posted by JollyElm View Post
So only standing up for your beliefs counts if you're the right color?? And I'm glad to know that naming schools or parks after a person is the main thing that counts in your world. Is Thomas Jefferson going to still be considered great after the snowflakes demand his name be removed from parks, schools and other places?
You either want to argue or completely misconstrued/misunderstood what I wrote. Gonna try 1 more time and not make a history lesson out of it.

Koufax stood up for his beliefs (rightly so!) in 1 big game! Clemente faced racism most of his career including levels of despicable that I suspect Koufax never had the opportunity to know (that made it arguably harder for him to achieve greatness). Having parks and schools named after you is a sign of honor and respect - I suppose you couldn't find one named after Koufax. Not sure what you mean about the snowflake reference, but I believe the question was about Clemente or Koufax - not Jefferson!

Koufax was great

Clemente was THE Great One!

The END
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Old 04-20-2019, 12:22 AM
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Originally Posted by hcv123 View Post
You either want to argue or completely misconstrued/misunderstood what I wrote. Gonna try 1 more time and not make a history lesson out of it.

Koufax stood up for his beliefs (rightly so!) in 1 big game! Clemente faced racism most of his career including levels of despicable that I suspect Koufax never had the opportunity to know (that made it arguably harder for him to achieve greatness). Having parks and schools named after you is a sign of honor and respect - I suppose you couldn't find one named after Koufax. Not sure what you mean about the snowflake reference, but I believe the question was about Clemente or Koufax - not Jefferson!

Koufax was great

Clemente was THE Great One!

The END
Let me explain something that even a three year old will understand. This thread is about opinions, not facts. There is no 'correct' answer to the question at hand. So as much as you love thinking yours is the only opinion that counts, that's all it is, YOUR OPINION. And, for the record, I didn't even say who I personally think is better, greater, bigger or whatever. And you keep talking about parks and schools, which is laughable in this context. Roberto Clemente died tragically on a mission of mercy. After the tragedy, he was honored by having countless things named after him, much like our country did with John F. Kennedy after 11/22/63. Sandy Koufax didn't die tragically. In fact, he's still alive. How often is a park or school named after a person who's still alive??? That's your benchmark for comparison??? If he died young and horribly, there would be countless sites named after him (especially in the Jewish community) as well. (But I'm sure you'd argue about that too.)
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Old 04-20-2019, 12:47 AM
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Thinking about all this, I have a question for Koufax and Dodger fans. Suppose Yom Kippur had fallen on the day of Game 7 of the 1965 World Series instead of Game 1, Sandy had refused to pitch, and the Dodgers had lost?

The Dodgers capture a hard-fought pennant by just 2 games, they split the first 6 games of the World Series with their Koufax-Drysdale-Osteen rotation, Game 7 comes up, it's Yom Kippur, and Sandy says he won't pitch. Won't start, won't be available in relief, nothing. Most he will do for his team is clap his hands and offer encouragement.

And then, the next spring, he and Drysdale pull off their dual holdout which nets Sandy a $40,000 raise for 1966.

How would you feel about Koufax then, had his Yom Kippur day of rest cost his team a World Championship?

I don't really have an opinion myself, especially being a Twins fan. But I am curious if Dodger fans would have the same admiration and respect for that action had there been a big price to pay (the losing of a World Series.)
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Old 04-20-2019, 09:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JollyElm View Post
Let me explain something that even a three year old will understand. This thread is about opinions, not facts. There is no 'correct' answer to the question at hand. So as much as you love thinking yours is the only opinion that counts, that's all it is, YOUR OPINION. And, for the record, I didn't even say who I personally think is better, greater, bigger or whatever. And you keep talking about parks and schools, which is laughable in this context. Roberto Clemente died tragically on a mission of mercy. After the tragedy, he was honored by having countless things named after him, much like our country did with John F. Kennedy after 11/22/63. Sandy Koufax didn't die tragically. In fact, he's still alive. How often is a park or school named after a person who's still alive??? That's your benchmark for comparison??? If he died young and horribly, there would be countless sites named after him (especially in the Jewish community) as well. (But I'm sure you'd argue about that too.)
Clemente faced something that even Jackie Robinson didn't, racism from his home town fans. He was often ridiculed because he was not only black, but Hispanic and didn't speak English. It is often refered to as double racism. He suffered as much as any player in MLB history. In 1969 in San Diego he was kidnapped at gun point and taken into the hills. They put the pistol in his mouth and were ready to shoot him when Roberto was able to talk them into releasing him.

Clemente repaid all the hatred directed at him with nothing but love. He gave back to the city of Pittsburgh and to his home island of Puerto Rico. He gave his life trying to save suffering people in Nicaragua. He is the example that Hispanics look to, now over 30% of MLB. There is no one that you can compare to Roberto Clemente when it comes to on and off the field.

I grew up in LA in the 60s when Koufax was at his peak. He was known as the left arm of God. In my opinion, he is the greatest left handed pitcher of all time. I have no doubt that if it wasn't for the arthritis in his left arm, he would be regarded as the greatest pitcher of all time. He put together the greatest 5 year run in MLB history while being less than 100% most of the time and missing big parts of two of the seasons. He is nothing but a class act, but he never could have the impact of Roberto Clemente.
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Old 04-20-2019, 05:34 PM
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Clemente faced something that even Jackie Robinson didn't, racism from his home town fans. He was often ridiculed because he was not only black, but Hispanic and didn't speak English. It is often refered to as double racism. He suffered as much as any player in MLB history. In 1969 in San Diego he was kidnapped at gun point and taken into the hills. They put the pistol in his mouth and were ready to shoot him when Roberto was able to talk them into releasing him.

Clemente repaid all the hatred directed at him with nothing but love. He gave back to the city of Pittsburgh and to his home island of Puerto Rico. He gave his life trying to save suffering people in Nicaragua. He is the example that Hispanics look to, now over 30% of MLB. There is no one that you can compare to Roberto Clemente when it comes to on and off the field.

I grew up in LA in the 60s when Koufax was at his peak. He was known as the left arm of God. In my opinion, he is the greatest left handed pitcher of all time. I have no doubt that if it wasn't for the arthritis in his left arm, he would be regarded as the greatest pitcher of all time. He put together the greatest 5 year run in MLB history while being less than 100% most of the time and missing big parts of two of the seasons. He is nothing but a class act, but he never could have the impact of Roberto Clemente.
Good points, all. Again, I didn't offer an opinion on who had it worst (obviously, it was probably Clemente). I simply bristled at the fact that some people don't seem to understand what types of problems a Jewish pitcher faced at that time. (I'm from NYC and Long Island, and have a lifetime of experience with the crap my friends, relatives, girlfriends, etc. went through on a daily basis. And I've celebrated countless Chanukahs, Passovers, etc., in my life and sat Shiva way too many times.) My problem is when that other self-absorbed dipsh_t comes on and laughably attempts to condescend to me.
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Old 04-20-2019, 07:12 PM
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Good points, all. Again, I didn't offer an opinion on who had it worst (obviously, it was probably Clemente). I simply bristled at the fact that some people don't seem to understand what types of problems a Jewish pitcher faced at that time. (I'm from NYC and Long Island, and have a lifetime of experience with the crap my friends, relatives, girlfriends, etc. went through on a daily basis. And I've celebrated countless Chanukahs, Passovers, etc., in my life and sat Shiva way too many times.) My problem is when that other self-absorbed dipsh_t comes on and laughably attempts to condescend to me.
So I am going to choose to ignore the personal attack, take the higher road and share the following: If you wanted to start a thread about how hard Koufax had it as a Jew playing baseball in the 50's and 60's then why don't you go start a thread on it - I fully AGREE - there is a case to be made!! - This thread however is one where the OP was comparing 2 players - Koufax and Clemente! IMHO - On just about any measure (except for pitching) on or off the field there is no comparison - that is the point I was simply trying to make. For the record - I am Jewish - have faced antisemitism and celebrated numerous holidays too!! Happy Passover - enjoy your second seder
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Old 04-20-2019, 08:25 PM
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Good points, all. Again, I didn't offer an opinion on who had it worst (obviously, it was probably Clemente). I simply bristled at the fact that some people don't seem to understand what types of problems a Jewish pitcher faced at that time. (I'm from NYC and Long Island, and have a lifetime of experience with the crap my friends, relatives, girlfriends, etc. went through on a daily basis. And I've celebrated countless Chanukahs, Passovers, etc., in my life and sat Shiva way too many times.) My problem is when that other self-absorbed dipsh_t comes on and laughably attempts to condescend to me.
Yes, but it was Clemente that was kept off the Dodgers roster because of his heritage while Koufax was given a roster spot for 2 years in which he barely pitched.
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Old 04-20-2019, 09:11 PM
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Yes, but it was Clemente that was kept off the Dodgers roster because of his heritage while Koufax was given a roster spot for 2 years in which he barely pitched.
The Dodgers were forced to keep him on the roster for that amount of time because he signed for a bonus. That was the rule back then. In fact when the Dodgers and Sandy & his dad agreed to terms, the first thing the Dodgers had to do was get rid of a player to make room on the roster for Sandy. Everybody knew he wasn't big league ready, but the Pirates, Giants, and Braves were after him too, so that's how the Dodgers had to play it.
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Old 04-20-2019, 09:32 PM
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Just remember guys, no right answer here. Just 'Which one do you prefer?'

Like Mary Ann or Ginger.
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Old 04-21-2019, 08:07 AM
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The Dodgers were forced to keep him on the roster for that amount of time because he signed for a bonus. That was the rule back then. In fact when the Dodgers and Sandy & his dad agreed to terms, the first thing the Dodgers had to do was get rid of a player to make room on the roster for Sandy. Everybody knew he wasn't big league ready, but the Pirates, Giants, and Braves were after him too, so that's how the Dodgers had to play it.
The Dodgers signed Roberto Clemente to a bonus too. They wanted to keep him on the roster, but asked Jackie Robinson's opinion since he was the team leader. When told that they would have to release a popular white player, Jackie said it would be best to not add another black (latin?) player. The Dodgers sent him to the minors, but everyone knew Clemente was a future star and the Pirates took him with the first pick of the Rule 5 draft.

Imagine how great the Dodgers would have been through the 60s with both Clemente and Koufax. My point is that when faced with keeping a player on the roster who was not ready for the majors, the Dodgers had no problem finding a spot for Koufax. However, for Clemente it was his race that kept him off the team.
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Old 04-21-2019, 04:04 PM
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I love baseball lifers like Clyde Sukeforth. His connection to both Clemente and Jackie Robinson is very cool. https://baseballhall.org/discover/go...lyde-sukeforth
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Old 04-22-2019, 11:25 AM
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So much rancor and misinformation too.

Would Koufax be revered as much for not pitching game 7 rather than game 1? The question misses the point. Koufax's stance on pitching wasn't situational, it was ethical. Which game he had to sit wouldn't have mattered once the ethical commitment to honor the holiday was made. Hank Greenberg dealt with the same thing a generation earlier.

As for naming stuff, well, Jewish tradition is not to name children after living people. That's why we don't 'do' Sr., Jr., III, etc. Naming stuff after living people is also a bit uncomfortable in traditional life.

As far as Clemente goes, the Dodgers did not purposely get rid of him. Their front office screwed up: Clemente was signed to a bonus contract that required him to be on the roster but the team sent him down to Montreal anyway to hide him, which exposed him to the draft and enabled the Pirates to snag him. The Pirates scouted him and decided to make him the first round pick in 1955.

The story about Jackie Robinson making roster decisions on Clemente is probably apocryphal. First of all, the starting line-up in the outfield for the Dodgers in 1954 was Robinson (LF), Snider (CF) and Furillo (RF). They didn't need Clemente. Where was Clemente going to play? Gilliam (another black guy) had displaced Robinson from 2nd to left. Was the team going to stick a rookie with no experience into center for Snider? Hardly. Furillo? Besides having a rifle arm, Furillo had just led the league in batting in 1953. He wasn't going anywhere either.

But let's delve deeper into the Dodgers racial composition and roster moves. Suggesting that the Dodgers got rid of Clemente to keep a white guy implies that the other outfield roster spots were reserved for white guys, which is not true. In 1954 the Dodgers called up Sandy Amoros as a backup outfielder: black, Cuban Sandy Amoros. Who'd been up briefly in 1952 and was a known commodity at Montreal. To suggest that the team that broke the race barrier and that actively sought out black talent would then decide to suppress that talent for racial reasons, then call up another black guy a few months later, is a fanciful suggestion. Race may have been a consideration as it usually was in any American decision in the era but it wasn't the overriding decision in Dodgers roster moves, as is obvious from the actual roster moves. The more likely explanation is the one that Clyde Sukeforth offered to historians: the team signed Clemente because he had such great potential, then tried to bury him in Montreal to get around the bonus rule and lost him.

Now, back to Koufax. The Dodgers had a better line-up on paper than the Yankees, except for one thing: pitching. It was pitching that had beaten the Dodgers every Series. The Yankees had the arms. Koufax had a left arm touched by God; that was apparent from the outset. Hell, he struck out 14 Reds in a game as a 19 year old in 1955. The Dodgers were 'arming' for the Yankees. Outfield was not the same level of urgency.
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Old 04-22-2019, 12:36 PM
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Some excellent points have been made on here.

I think that sports fans always have and always will give more love to the athletes who play on offense.

Comparing Clemente to Koufax is the same as comparing Wayne Gretzky to Patrick Roy (a goalie). Like Gretzky, Roy was also very valuable to his team. He was so difficult to score on and won the Stanley Cup four times. Without him in net, there is no way his teams (Montreal and Colorado) would have won. Of course, hockey fans are always going to discuss Gretzky, Lemieux and all the other forwards who'd put the puck in the net night after night. You're not going to hear much about Roy.
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Old 04-22-2019, 07:49 PM
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So much rancor and misinformation too.

Would Koufax be revered as much for not pitching game 7 rather than game 1? The question misses the point. Koufax's stance on pitching wasn't situational, it was ethical. Which game he had to sit wouldn't have mattered once the ethical commitment to honor the holiday was made. Hank Greenberg dealt with the same thing a generation earlier.
The question does not miss the point. Ordinarily, Koufax would have pitched Game 1, 4, and 7 in the 1965 Series. He gets credit for making this tremendous sacrifice because of his religion, but all it really meant was that, instead, he pitched Game 2, 5, and 7.

Again my question is, with the season riding on Game 7, would Koufax have sat, if that day been Yom Kippur, and if he did, and the Dodgers had lost, what would have been the reaction of his teammates and fans?

Look, I'm a Koufax fan. He was great, virtually unhittable. Just saying, that whole refusal to pitch Game 1 because of Yom Kippur has been vastly overrated. I wonder what the reaction had been, if it would have actually involved making a major sacrifice, like the losing of a World Series.

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Now, back to Koufax. The Dodgers had a better line-up on paper than the Yankees, except for one thing: pitching. It was pitching that had beaten the Dodgers every Series. The Yankees had the arms. Koufax had a left arm touched by God; that was apparent from the outset. Hell, he struck out 14 Reds in a game as a 19 year old in 1955. The Dodgers were 'arming' for the Yankees. Outfield was not the same level of urgency.
Agree completely. And if you look at the Dodgers' history in the World Series, they lost a bunch of them before they bolstered their pitching staff and landed Koufax and after that, they won a bunch with him as the star (especially in 1963 and 1965.)

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Old 04-22-2019, 09:36 PM
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Again my question is, with the season riding on Game 7, would Koufax have sat, if that day been Yom Kippur, and if he did, and the Dodgers had lost, what would have been the reaction of his teammates and fans?
As I said before in the excerpt you quoted, regardless of game 1 or game 7, Koufax would have sat it out because his position was not situational.

If you are asking about Jewish fans, frankly, I find your assumption that Jews would disapprove of the decision to sit out a game 7 rather than game 1 to be insulting. Do you really believe that Jews would place a baseball game over the holiest day on the calendar and resent Koufax for it? I was raised Orthodox and I sat out a ton of stuff as a kid. It is what we grew up with, so it would not put off Jewish fans. As for non-Jewish fans, there will be a few chuckleheads who resent it but anyone of faith or who respects people of faith will acknowledge that some things transcend a ballgame.
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Old 04-22-2019, 10:40 PM
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As I said before in the excerpt you quoted, regardless of game 1 or game 7, Koufax would have sat it out because his position was not situational.

If you are asking about Jewish fans, frankly, I find your assumption that Jews would disapprove of the decision to sit out a game 7 rather than game 1 to be insulting. Do you really believe that Jews would place a baseball game over the holiest day on the calendar and resent Koufax for it? I was raised Orthodox and I sat out a ton of stuff as a kid. It is what we grew up with, so it would not put off Jewish fans. As for non-Jewish fans, there will be a few chuckleheads who resent it but anyone of faith or who respects people of faith will acknowledge that some things transcend a ballgame.
I did not insult anyone and I resent your saying that. It was an honest question. I do think principle trumps a baseball game. It's one of the reasons I like Rube Waddell so much - he'd rather leave a ballgame to chase a fire truck, to get to a fire, to save someones' life, which he did on several occasions. Waddell died from an illness he acquired while helping save people from a flood.

I hope you are right, that everyone would have respected Sandy's decision to sit out a Game 7 for his religion. The reason I asked is.............. I wonder.

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Old 04-23-2019, 12:45 AM
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I did not insult anyone and I resent your saying that. It was an honest question.
Yeah, I re-read it and Mark17 didn't assume anything, that was read into his text; all he did was ask a hypothetical.

And although I don't really want to weigh in on the religious thing, as perhaps one of the few if not only readers of this forum with a doctorate in religious studies, I guess I can't help myself.

So on that point I'll comment that you're both probably incorrect on the spiritual front, in that I find it perfectly reasonable for either a fan or perhaps even more especially a professional/teammate to resent a player that was derelict in carrying out an otherwise contractually agreed duty due to indulging the hindrances of ultimately arbitrary accidents of religious ordinances on a calendar.

That is perhaps how someone that is not a 'person of faith' (however we each take that to mean) could see it, and the reality is that there's no one on earth qualified to judge against that view, as if not being a 'person of faith' somehow defines their thoughts/feelings/joys in life as less than.

I agree that some things transcend a ballgame, but I'm less sure that routine capitulation to a calendar qualifies as transcendent.
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Old 04-23-2019, 01:19 AM
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Thank you, this is a very good reply. I didn't really give an opinion myself; I just asked the question. But my opinion would be similar: Some would call Sandy courageous, some would be angry and say he had shirked his duty and let his team and fans down at the worst possible moment.

Looking at how some guys, and I mean, really decent human beings, had their lives almost ruined by bitter fans, it makes me wonder if something like that might've happened to Sandy.

Fred Merkle was a very popular Giant until his "boner". His teammate, Fred Snodgrass, was often accused of losing the 1912 World Series throughout the rest of his life. Author Larry Ritter commented that Fred's obituary title read: Fred Snodgrass, who dropped a fly ball in the World Series.....

I knew a guy from New York who never forgave Tony Kubek for the Yankees losing the 1960 World Series. When I reminded him that Bill Virdon's bad-hop grounder hit Kubek in the throat, his angry reply was "He still should've flipped it to Richardson!"

And we all know about the sad tail end of Bill Buckner's otherwise great career, when he lost the 1986 Series.

Sandy was a very nice, very popular player. Would most fans have stood by him or turned on him? Personally I am very glad we will never know. I have more respect for Sandy's integrity than I do for the mob mentality that sometimes sets the historical narrative.

Now.... Had Sandy then proceeded to team with Drysdale in their dual holdout, which netted Sandy an unheard-of $40,000 raise prior to the next season, I think that might have really tipped the scale of public opinion against him. Had all this hypothetical stuff happened, we might view Sandy Koufax very differently than we do now, basically through no real fault of his. He might have been the Fred Merkle of the 1960s.

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Old 04-23-2019, 08:42 AM
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So much rancor and misinformation too.

Would Koufax be revered as much for not pitching game 7 rather than game 1? The question misses the point. Koufax's stance on pitching wasn't situational, it was ethical. Which game he had to sit wouldn't have mattered once the ethical commitment to honor the holiday was made. Hank Greenberg dealt with the same thing a generation earlier.

As for naming stuff, well, Jewish tradition is not to name children after living people. That's why we don't 'do' Sr., Jr., III, etc. Naming stuff after living people is also a bit uncomfortable in traditional life.

As far as Clemente goes, the Dodgers did not purposely get rid of him. Their front office screwed up: Clemente was signed to a bonus contract that required him to be on the roster but the team sent him down to Montreal anyway to hide him, which exposed him to the draft and enabled the Pirates to snag him. The Pirates scouted him and decided to make him the first round pick in 1955.

The story about Jackie Robinson making roster decisions on Clemente is probably apocryphal. First of all, the starting line-up in the outfield for the Dodgers in 1954 was Robinson (LF), Snider (CF) and Furillo (RF). They didn't need Clemente. Where was Clemente going to play? Gilliam (another black guy) had displaced Robinson from 2nd to left. Was the team going to stick a rookie with no experience into center for Snider? Hardly. Furillo? Besides having a rifle arm, Furillo had just led the league in batting in 1953. He wasn't going anywhere either.

But let's delve deeper into the Dodgers racial composition and roster moves. Suggesting that the Dodgers got rid of Clemente to keep a white guy implies that the other outfield roster spots were reserved for white guys, which is not true. In 1954 the Dodgers called up Sandy Amoros as a backup outfielder: black, Cuban Sandy Amoros. Who'd been up briefly in 1952 and was a known commodity at Montreal. To suggest that the team that broke the race barrier and that actively sought out black talent would then decide to suppress that talent for racial reasons, then call up another black guy a few months later, is a fanciful suggestion. Race may have been a consideration as it usually was in any American decision in the era but it wasn't the overriding decision in Dodgers roster moves, as is obvious from the actual roster moves. The more likely explanation is the one that Clyde Sukeforth offered to historians: the team signed Clemente because he had such great potential, then tried to bury him in Montreal to get around the bonus rule and lost him.

Now, back to Koufax. The Dodgers had a better line-up on paper than the Yankees, except for one thing: pitching. It was pitching that had beaten the Dodgers every Series. The Yankees had the arms. Koufax had a left arm touched by God; that was apparent from the outset. Hell, he struck out 14 Reds in a game as a 19 year old in 1955. The Dodgers were 'arming' for the Yankees. Outfield was not the same level of urgency.
I am sorry, but it is a well known story that I thought any serious baseball fan knew.

http://www.espn.com/blog/sweetspot/p...om-the-dodgers

Bavasi then wrote that while there was not a quota in effect, race was the factor in their decision to have Clemente play in Montreal rather than Brooklyn:

"[Dodgers owner] Walter O'Malley had two partners who were concerned about the number of minorities we would be bringing to the Dodgers. ... The concern had nothing to do with quotas, but the thought was too many minorities might be a problem with the white players. Not so, I said. Winning was the important thing. I agreed with the board that we should get a player's opinion and I would be guided by the player’s opinion. The board called in Jackie Robinson. Hell, now I felt great. Jackie was told the problem, and, after thinking about it awhile, he asked me who would be sent out if Clemente took one of the spots. I said George Shuba. Jackie agreed that Shuba would be the one to go. Then he said Shuba was not among the best players on the club, but he was the most popular. With that he shocked me by saying, and I quote: 'If I were the GM [general manager], I would not bring Clemente to the club and send Shuba or any other white player down. If I did this, I would be setting our program back."

These are the words of the general manager who signed Clemente and made the decisions on the roster. It is possible that he is inserting Jackie's name into the story to take the heat off of the owners and himself, but there can be no doubt that the Dodgers gave away Clemente because of his race.

The player that the Dodgers kept instead of Clemente was George Shuba who hit .254 with an OPS+ of 92 in 1953. In 1954 he hit .154 with an OPS+ of 43. He had 65 at bats in 1954 and 51 at bats in 1955 and then he was out of baseball. No one in their right mind who keep a player like that who was at the end of their career for a player the Dodger's scout graded as the best free agent player that he ever saw and graded A+ for arm and power and A in every other area. He was a complete player, but not ready for the majors.

Why wouldn't you put that player on your roster and gradually work him into the starting line up in a couple years? It is no different than Sandy Koufax who pitched 41 innings in 1955 and 58 innings in 1956. Sandy Amaros was brought up because he was ready to contribute, that had nothing to do with Clemente. Amaros was never a full time starter, the most games he ever played in a season was 119. By 1957 he was done with just 19 at bats for the Dodgers after that. Jackie Robinson split time between the outfield and 3rd base. He could have played only 3B at any time. His last season was 1956. Carl Furillo's last season as a full time starter was 1956. He played 119 and 122 games the next 2 seasons and then had 113 ABs after that. There was plenty of playing time available for Clemente by 1956 when as a full time starter he hit .311.

The Braves offered Clemente either 25K or 35K to sign. There is no doubt that they would have put him on their roster. There is no doubt that they would have drafted him if given the chance. The "hiding him in Montreal" story is pure fantasy. Maybe the Dodgers were telling themselves that, but no rational person would believe it. A player of his talent would absolutely be taken by another team in the rule 5 draft. A Pirates' scout told the Montreal manager during the 1954 season that he should be playing Clemente every at bat, but it didn't really matter because they would be drafting him with the #1 pick in the rule 5 draft.

The Dodgers absolutely gave Clemente away. They signed him because if they didn't, the Giants would have signed him. Clemente wanted to play in New York. The Giants offered him 4K so they could send him to the minors and keep him. I have no doubt that if Clemente knew what the Dodgers were doing, he would have signed with the Giants. After all, he turned down 25K or 35K from the Braves to sign for 10K with the Dodgers. You don't give away that much money in 1954, being a poor Latin player, unless location means more than money. By signing with the Dodgers, he guaranteed that he never would play in New York.

In the end, what the Dodgers did was good for baseball. Clemente went to the worst team in the league. A team that had an 8 season run of 5 8th place finishes and 3 7th place finishes. A team that he turned into a champion, winning 2 World Series. If the Dodgers had kept Clemente, they could have dominated baseball. Likewise, if he had signed with the Braves and played along side Aaron, the Braves could have dominated baseball. If the Dodgers has allowed him to sign with their hated rivals and play with Mays, the Giants could have dominated baseball. Their actions created a balanced league. However, there is no doubt that Clemente's race kept him off the Dodgers roster in 1954

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Old 04-23-2019, 01:34 PM
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I agree that some things transcend a ballgame, but I'm less sure that routine capitulation to a calendar qualifies as transcendent.
What Koufax did was not "routine capitulation to a calendar". Koufax was setting an example as a role model based on his understanding that as a prominent Jew in America he had a responsibility to "represent" (as the kids say). If he didn't take the position he did, even though he wasn't religious himself, it would have been much harder for other Jews to take the holiday off from their jobs.

You may not realize this but there was a great deal of institutional and informal anti-Semitism in America even as Koufax was playing for the Dodgers. There were bars or quotas on Jewish admissions to schools, restricted social and country clubs, closed career paths at businesses that would not hire Jews, and so on. My mother experienced comments at work in the 1970s (like open Christian proselytizing) that would have resulted in a slam dunk lawsuit today for hostile work environment and harassment; my father found himself asked to give speeches at social clubs where he was not welcome to apply as a potential member because of religion. That stuff has by and large disappeared but it was a real thing when Koufax made his decision, and to denigrate his decision as routine capitulation to a calendar is simply inaccurate.

As for the story of Clemente's demotion to Montreal, I guess I learned something new.
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Old 04-23-2019, 11:01 PM
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What Koufax did was not "routine capitulation to a calendar".
I described it that way b/c what I'm arguing is that all religious ordinances are routine and ultimately arbitrary b/c they're all manifestations in our minds that are rooted in nothing that is part of the basic factual experience of life. By definition they are metaphysical thoughts/beliefs that are not measurable or demonstrable, and for that reason we can't even say that they are more significant than activities that might rightly be argued as fairly inconsequential ways for passing time, like games such as baseball--which someone else may quite literally treat with enough serious as to be their own experience of "religion."

So for Koufax, or anyone, in the act of *choosing* to follow their particular religion, to seem to have a negative impact on how a fan or teammate experiences their "religion" and that's where I'm arguing it may be improper to think that anyone holds the authority of choosing sides and assessing who is more justified at being resentful of the other based on their opinions on how to live.

But I guess debating religious philosophy is moving far afield of the OP's intent for the thread, which although he asked which do people 'prefer' he also couched that from the perspective of collectible value since he specifically requested the opinions of dealers, I guess meaning those with a sense of ongoing market value for collectibles.

Although I'm certainly not a dealer and not really even a big re-seller, mostly an acquirer at this stage, I suspect overall the answer to that is Clemente, although there have been some lower pop high-end Koufax items that came to market recently that went for quite eye-popping amounts (maybe that So Cal $$$ !?, and in the long-run unsustainable?).

I wonder if a more apt comparison would have been Clemente compared to Aaron and Mays, given the overlapping similarities that eliminate most of the points raised in the thread: all offensive players, same basic position no less, world-class HoF talents, virtually overlapping similar-length careers, and of course similar basic race issues (the language issue Clemente also dealt with being a notable addition)...
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Old 04-24-2019, 07:06 AM
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I would just like to add one thing about Koufax. He never pitched on Jewish holy days through out his career. This wasn't just a one time thing, but was part of who he was. He also had the full support of Dodgers owner Walter O'Malley. So, the question of would this have been different had it been game 7 or 1 is no. I don't think the Dodger fan base would have treated Koufax any different. There are things more important than a baseball game. I have nothing but respect for Koufax.
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Old 04-24-2019, 07:56 AM
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I would just like to add one thing about Koufax. He never pitched on Jewish holy days through out his career. This wasn't just a one time thing, but was part of who he was. He also had the full support of Dodgers owner Walter O'Malley. So, the question of would this have been different had it been game 7 or 1 is no. I don't think the Dodger fan base would have treated Koufax any different. There are things more important than a baseball game. I have nothing but respect for Koufax.
I would like to think you are right. But a lot of people in this country, especially today, don't have a lot of respect for religion and I think there would have been a very mixed historical legacy. One side being what you eloquently stated above, the other being that a guy, the highest paid player on the team, who was 100% healthy, chose to sit at the very time his team and fans needed him the most.

It's been an interesting discussion (at least I think so.)
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Old 04-24-2019, 09:51 AM
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I described it that way b/c what I'm arguing is that all religious ordinances are routine and ultimately arbitrary b/c they're all manifestations in our minds that are rooted in nothing that is part of the basic factual experience of life. By definition they are metaphysical thoughts/beliefs that are not measurable or demonstrable, and for that reason we can't even say that they are more significant than activities that might rightly be argued as fairly inconsequential ways for passing time, like games such as baseball--which someone else may quite literally treat with enough serious as to be their own experience of "religion."

So for Koufax, or anyone, in the act of *choosing* to follow their particular religion, to seem to have a negative impact on how a fan or teammate experiences their "religion" and that's where I'm arguing it may be improper to think that anyone holds the authority of choosing sides and assessing who is more justified at being resentful of the other based on their opinions on how to live.

But I guess debating religious philosophy is moving far afield of the OP's intent for the thread, which although he asked which do people 'prefer' he also couched that from the perspective of collectible value since he specifically requested the opinions of dealers, I guess meaning those with a sense of ongoing market value for collectibles.

Although I'm certainly not a dealer and not really even a big re-seller, mostly an acquirer at this stage, I suspect overall the answer to that is Clemente, although there have been some lower pop high-end Koufax items that came to market recently that went for quite eye-popping amounts (maybe that So Cal $$$ !?, and in the long-run unsustainable?).

I wonder if a more apt comparison would have been Clemente compared to Aaron and Mays, given the overlapping similarities that eliminate most of the points raised in the thread: all offensive players, same basic position no less, world-class HoF talents, virtually overlapping similar-length careers, and of course similar basic race issues (the language issue Clemente also dealt with being a notable addition)...

This has been one of the most educational and awesome conversations I have ever seen on this board! Thank you all for your contributions. Mike! I am going to read that a couple more times and really ponder what you shared - so deep - so cool! Perception becomes our subjective reality!

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Old 05-02-2019, 09:10 PM
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This has been one of the most educational and awesome conversations I have ever seen on this board! Thank you all for your contributions. Mike! I am going to read that a couple more times and really ponder what you shared - so deep - so cool! Perception becomes our subjective reality!
Hi Howard, thanks.

It's a good trade for me. I'll provide the religious philosophy (mercifully only very sparingly, let's hope, when the occasion arises) and meanwhile I get to learn from everyone else about everything I've missed in trading cards in the 20 yrs I was away from the scene...
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Old 05-18-2019, 07:14 AM
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He put together the greatest 5 year run in MLB history while being less than 100% most of the time and missing big parts of two of the seasons.
No disrespect intended towards Koufax, who was a phenomenal pitcher, but Pedro Martinez' seven year peak blows Koufax's five out of the water.

Koufax 1962-1966:
111 W-34 L (.766 PCT), 1.95 ERA, per 162 G average: 34 starts, 289 K, 63 BB. 0.926 WHIP, 2.00 FIP, 167 ERA+, 6.3 H, 0.6 HR, 9.4 K and 2.1 BB/9 IP, 4.57 K:BB.

Martinez 1997-2003:
118 W-36 L (.766 PCT), 2.20 ERA, per 162 G average: 34 starts, 300 K, 54 BB. 0.940 WHIP, 2.26 FIP, 213 ERA+, 6.4 H, 0.6 HR, 11.3 K and 2.0 BB/9 IP, 5.59 K:BB.

Koufax won three Cy Youngs and finished 3rd another season.
Martinez won three Cy Youngs, finished 2nd two other times, and 3rd another.

Koufax' year by year ERA+: 143, 159, 186, 160, 190
Martinez' year by year ERA+: 219, 163, 243, 291, 188, 202, 211

Between 1962-1966, the average OPS in the National League was .691.
Between 1997 and 2003, the average OPS In the American League was .771.

The two pitchers had virtually identical home runs, walks and hits allowed per 9 innings. They had comparable WHIP (Koufax 0.926, Martinez 0.940) and FIP (2.00 Koufax, 2.26 Martinez). Martinez struck out 2 more batters per 9 innings.

The difference is that while putting up highly comparable numbers, Martinez did it playing in an era where offense was clearly at a premium.
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Last edited by the 'stache; 05-18-2019 at 07:16 AM.
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