2023 February Finest Auction

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This 1955 Sandy Koufax original photograph is easily one of the finest shots taken of the legendary Dodgers southpaw in his debut season. Snapped by renowned Dodgers team photographer, Barney Stein, who served in that capacity from 1937 until the team’s move from Brooklyn to L.A. in 1957, the brilliant image captures the 19-year-old rookie in full uniform on the mound as he grips the ball and focuses on batter’s box. Based on the similar backdrop to another Stein photo from this same shoot, it appears to be from Spring Training in Feb./March of 1955.

Born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, Koufax went 3-1 and struck out 51 batters in 32 innings in his lone college season at the University of Cincinnati. His blazing fastball caught the attention of Dodgers scout (and eventual GM) Al Campanis enough to grant the local Jewish kid a tryout at Ebbets Field in front of Dodgers skipper Walter Alston. "There are two times in my life the hair on my arms has stood up,” Campanis would later say. “The first time I saw the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and the second time, I saw Sandy Koufax throw a fastball." The team promptly signed him for $6,000 with a $14,000 signing bonus, and the rest is history.

Because Koufax pitched sporadically during first couple of seasons in Brooklyn, photos of him at this early stage of his career are exceptionally scarce, making this rookie shot all the more significant. Authenticated and encapsulated as a rookie Type 1 by PSA/DNA, the 8” by 10” masterpiece comes in pristine condition, well-centered in its thin white borders, with pinpoint clarity. One of Stein’s greatest pieces of work.

Exceptional 1955 Sandy Koufax Rookie Original Photograph by Barney Stein (Arguably his Finest Rookie Shot Ever Taken!) - PSA/DNA Type 1
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