Quick! Name the Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher who led the National League in ERA for four years in a row and snagged three Cy Young awards during that span — and an MVP award.

Easy, right?

It’s Sandy Koufax.

Oh, wait … maybe it’s Clayton Kershaw?

Actually, it’s both — Koufax won ERA crowns from 1962 through 1966 (which is five years, if you’re counting), and Kershaw won his four from 2011 through 2014.

Oh, and then the Claw added on another ERA title in 2017 … maybe just so he could match Koufax?

Nah, that was just a side effect. Kershaw had simply been one of the most dominant lefthanders of his era — maybe of any era — just like Koufax, and things like leading the league in stuff tends to flow naturally from that status.

But, man the parallels between these two dudes are amazing …

Entering 2021, Kershaw’s record stands at 175-76, backed up by a nasty 2.43 ERA and 9.7 strikeouts per nine innings.

Koufax retired after the 1966 season with 165-87 record, supported by a 2.76 ERA and 9.3 K/9.

Kershaw also leads Koufax by about 20 WAR, if you’re into Sabermetrics.

So, as hard as it is to believe, there is plenty of statistical evidence to suggest that Kershaw has actually put together a better career than the legend that Koufax built. And the current Dodgers ace is not done yet.

Of course, Koufax sort of got a late start on the whole “legend” thing, spending the last half of the 1950s and the very beginning of the 1960s trying to figure out how to harness that amazing left arm of his.

When he did, the run be put together from 1963 through 1966 was one of the most dominant stretches of baseball any pitcher has ever mustered.

Alas, that last monster season blew out The Left Arm of God for good, and Koufax retired after the Dodgers lost the World Series to the Orioles.

Had he pitched in Kershaw’s era, or even just a few years later, Sandy might have comeback — heck, he might even have a surgery named after him.

But in 1966, his bad elbow spelled the end, and by hanging up his spikes before the calendar year changed, Koufax gave Topps time to prepare, which meant dropping him from their 1967 set.

And so, that 1966 Topps Sandy Koufax was the last card of the Dodgers’ ace that collectors pulled from “live” packs:

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Check prices on eBay (affiliate link)

Check prices on eBay (affiliate link)

That card has become a classic, and probably attained that status the moment it was issued — almost certainly the moment Koufax announced his retirement.

But, through the wonders of modern card-making, the interwebs, and Topps’ general dominance when it comes to archival power, Kershaw was able to stand next to his long-ago Dodger Doppelganger, right there on the same design:

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Find Clayton Kershaw cards on eBay (affiliate link)

Find Clayton Kershaw cards on eBay (affiliate link)

That Kershaw card came into existence on a Throwback Thursday … or, rather, as part of one of Topps’ Throwback Thursday sets, with a new run issued every week on — yes — Thursday.

It’s all the more fitting because Koufax’s final mound appearance ever, a 6-0 drubbing at the hands of the Orioles in Game 2 of the 1966 World Series (though he gave up just a single earned run) came on … a Thursday.


Hobby Wow!

Kershaw is one in a long line of Dodgers legends, many of whom are lined up in this eBay lot:

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That’s a Dodgers photo collage with 75 signatures, including Kershaw.

Check out the full listing on eBay right here (affiliate link).

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1981 Topps Baseball Cards 20 Card Lot

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1971 - 1981 Topps Baseball cards Johnny Bench lot of 4 Vg/Ex

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