The game description is where the book shines. The surrounding material about his life and career is not quite as good. Almost all of the material is remembrances by people who know or knew him, rather than direct observations by the author, or reminiscences by Koufax himself. This works very well for the game chapters because you have a large number of viewpoints for a single event. The rest of his career gets short shrift by comparison. The only big thing that I discovered that was new to me was that he does do card shows and such. In fact it's one of his primary sources of income. I was less disappointed by that than I thought I would be. Even heroes need to make a living.
A large part of the book describes what Koufax meant to the Jewish community. He refused to pitch the opening game of the 1965 World Series because the game fell on Yom Kippur. It was something unheard of prior to that. The interesting part is that Koufax was not an observant Jew. He did it because he felt he had to be a role model. And he was. As a kid, my best friend was Jewish, and a diehard Yankee fan. Despite that, he always rooted for Koufax. He even did me one better, because being left-handed, he could actually pretend to be Koufax when we played baseball in the back yard. Being a righty, the best I could do was try to be Drysdale, throwing sidearm fastballs (which hurt my arm a lot, by the way).
There is a lot of stuff about Drysdale in the book, because they were a team within the team. It was they who showed baseball's management that at some point they'd actually have to pay players what they were worth when the two of them held out for more money together before the 1966 season. They weren't great friends, but they were teammates, and to Koufax that has always been important. One of the few quotes from Koufax that are in the book provides perhaps the saddest moment. Drysdale died of a heart attack while on the road to broadcast a Dodgers' game, and sometime after that Koufax was asked why he didn't continue his broadcasting career as Drysdale had. He sadly replied, "I didn't want to die in a cheap motel."
The one thing that stands out about Koufax above all else is his loyalty to his teammates. It was true back in the fifties, when he would hang out with his black teammates in then segregated Vero Beach, and it was still true when he found out about John Roseboro's health problems over the last couple of years. He has always been there for the guys he played with.
Still my hero...
Next up is The Silmarillion, which I've tried to start a couple of times over the years, and always put it aside in frustration somewhere in the first chapter. I have been advised to skip the early chapters to get to the meat of the matter, so maybe this time it'll take.