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Exhibition Baseball Americana

Phil Bath, photographer. Sandy Koufax, April 12, 1966. Reproduction. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (053.00.00)

Sandy Koufax

The decision of Los Angeles Dodgers ace Sandy Koufax not to pitch in Game 1 of the 1965 World Series, because it fell on the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur, sparked immeasurable pride among Jewish Americans and still influences players balancing personal convictions with professional responsibilities. By honoring his heritage on the national game’s grandest stage, Koufax showed it was possible to be both Jewish and American. “He didn’t see the burden of his identity,” said Rabbi Michael Paley. “He saw the possibility of it.”