‘On The Road With PSUgator02′ – Mr. Sandy Koufax – January 4, 2011
I’d drive to the ends of the Earth for this guy. And i pretty much did. But he did it so it was worth it.
My source asked that I not go into detail about the logistics so I’ll apologize in advance for this being a bit vague. I was told when he would be there but considering how far I was driving the last thing I wanted to do was miss him. So I got there extra early. He actually showed up 45 minutes before we thought he would. I wasn’t expecting him to arrive as early as he did, so I was caught a bit off-guard when he finally walked past me.
I told my help that I was going to walk over to the vicinity of the person I thought was Koufax. He looked a tad bit different from an Internet picture of him taken in 2011. In the pic, his hair was curly and brown. In person, however, it didn’t seem curly at all but was instead white and straight. I mistakenly thought that he might dress a little snazzier, so I was taken aback at the tennis shoes and jeans he was wearing. I walked up and asked, “Excuse me, are you Sandy Koufax?” He replied, “Yes.” Well, Mr. Koufax, my friend and I would love to have your autograph. Should we bring our stuff to you or would you walk over to where we are?” Said Koufax, “No, just bring it here and I’ll do it.”
My help walked everything over. It was the 11x14s that stymied Koufax. It would’ve been fine had we had baseballs. For obvious reasons, however, everyone involved had decided that photos would stand the test of time more than balls. “You guys are professionals,” he said, as his eyes got really big. “How did you know I was going to be here?” I told him that I had a friend who worked “here.” That didn’t sit well with Koufax, who had a lady friend in tow.
“That’s f*^king bulls*^t,” Koufax said. “This is the last time I’m going to use this establishment (the details in italics were changed to respect my source).” I was able to calm Koufax by telling him how far I had driven. “Only one,” he said. That concerned me a bit since I had to give one of the photos to my source in exchange for the information. He continued to mumble his dissatisfaction as he signed. I hoped that by telling him a story he might do the second photo.
“Mr. Koufax,” I pleaded. “I saw you at the 1992 Final Four in Charlotte. You were getting a hot dog. I wanted to go over and shake your hand but my friend insisted that I give you your privacy. I’ve regretted that day for 19 years. If I were a dealer, then I would understand your concerns. But I’m a teacher and this photo is going to go right on my wall as soon as I get home. And this guy who’s with me, he’s actually one of my former students (which is true).”
Koufax then took the second photo and signed it, personalizing it “To Jason, Best Wishes.” Then he got funny. “And you know, that personalization right there comes off very easily with acetate,” Koufax said. I didn’t push for more, but instead reached over and shook his hand, with Koufax willingly returning the gesture.
I have a favorite T-shirt that I always wear for good luck when I’m playing poker. It’s a painting of Sandy Koufax. It was a cold day out so I had the shirt on underneath another long-sleeved shirt. I never did show Koufax the shirt, but I think it may have given me good luck.
Just an awesome experience.