Thursday October 14, 1965
The narrative on Sandy Koufax’s performance in Game 7 of the 1965 World Series reads that he wasn’t at his best. That was of little consolation to the Twins, who were able to muster only three hits of the Dodger lefty.
Game 7 was the only close game in a series that was typically decided in the early innings. All of the scoring occured in the top of the fourth inning. Lou Johnson led off with a solo home run off of Jim Kaat. The next batter, Ron Fairly, doubled down the right field line and scored on Wes Parker’s single for a 2-0 Dodger lead. The runs marked the end of a short afternoon for Jim Kaat. Though Al Worthington retired the Dodgers with no further runs scored, the damage had been done. From TSN:
The rest of the story, though, belonged to Koufax. He was not as sharp as usual. You could see that when he walked Oliva and Harmon Killebrew on the first two of three walks he issued.
He was laboring, often coming in high with pitches. He was also a bit more truculent than usual, frequently questioning plate umpire Ed Hurley’s calls.
The decision to start Koufax came just a few hours before game time. Walter Alston had also considered pitching Don Drysdale, whose turn it was in the rotation. Alston didn’t regret the decision, though there were some tense moments.
With one out in the bottom of the fifth, Frank Quilici doubled to left-center. Rich Rollins, pinch hitting for Worthington, drew the third walk off of Sandy Koufax with MVP Zoilo Versalles ready to come to the plate. Versalles hit a hard grounder that looked to be destined for extra bases. Dodger third baseman Jim Gilliam dove to his right and backhanded the ball, robbing Versalles of an RBI hit and forcing the runner at third. Koufax then retired Joe Nossek to maintain the 2-0 lead.
The Twins didn’t have another base runner until Killebrew singled with one out in the ninth. Koufax then reached down to strike out, in succession, Earl Battey and Bob Allison with the tying run at the plate to end the game and the series. Koufax was named series MVP.