PHOENIX -- Legendary left-hander Sandy Koufax is no longer a member of the Dodgers front office, the club confirmed to MLB.com on Friday.The 80-year-old Koufax, who returned to the organization in 2013 as special advisor to the chairman, made his first appearance at Spring Training on Friday, visiting with former
PHOENIX -- Legendary left-hander Sandy Koufax is no longer a member of the Dodgers front office, the club confirmed to MLB.com on Friday.
The 80-year-old Koufax, who returned to the organization in 2013 as special advisor to the chairman, made his first appearance at Spring Training on Friday, visiting with former teammate Maury Wills, manager Dave Roberts, fellow left-hander Clayton Kershaw and pitching coach Rick Honeycutt, among others.
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But Lon Rosen, executive vice president and chief marketing officer, said Koufax was visiting "as a very close friend of the organization. He and Mark [Walter, chairman] are friends, he's friends with Clayton. But he is no longer in that [advisory] role."
Rosen said the parting was "very amicable." Koufax did not speak with reporters.
Koufax's return in 2013 was a watershed hiring for new ownership seeking to re-establish credibility for the franchise in Los Angeles.
As special advisor to Walter, Koufax would spend about a week in camp, working with pitchers and consulting with the front office. He also has appeared at Opening Day and Old-timers events. The role was in part a resumption of Koufax's post-playing job as a Minor League pitching instructor with the organization.
In 1979, Koufax began an 11-year stint with the Dodgers as a Minor League pitching instructor and has long been praised for having the rare ability of translating mechanical themes and mental approach into simple language easily understood by pitchers young and old.
He was estranged from the organization after it was sold by the O'Malley family to News Corp., which also owned publications that delved into Koufax's private life. He resurfaced when the club was bought by Frank McCourt and was an occasional Spring Training visitor, as he has been with the New York Mets, who are owned by Koufax's childhood friend, Fred Wilpon.
Koufax had a playing career that blossomed late because of wildness and ended early because of injury. But in between, he displayed an unmatched overpowering brilliance that made him the youngest player ever voted into the Hall of Fame.
Koufax was a three-time unanimous Cy Young Award winner with four no-hitters, an MVP Award, three 25-win seasons and five consecutive ERA titles to his credit. In each of his Cy Young seasons, he led the league in wins, ERA and strikeouts. He threw 54 complete games in his last two seasons, led the league in strikeouts four times and innings pitched his last two years.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com.