Late-Career Koufax Glove Comes With a Story

Game-worn Sandy Koufax glove If Sandy Koufax hadn’t put down his commemorative World Series lighter, Todd Harvey wouldn’t be looking at a nice consignment check later this year.

A game-worn Sandy Koufax glove glove dating from the final stages his Hall of Fame career will highlight the Signature Sports Collectibles Auction at Heritage Auction Galleries’ Uptown Dallas headquarters this spring.

The glove was consigned by the son of a former Major League Baseball umpire. In June Leavy’s critically acclaimed biography ‘Sandy Koufax, a Lefty’s Legacy’, Doug Harvey recounted the story of how Koufax came to give him the glove. It seems Koufax and Harvey were sharing a drink at a Milwaukee hotel bar one night when the star pitcher inadvertently left behind a personalized lighter given to him to commemorate the Dodgers’ latest World Series visit. Harvey later returned it to Koufax, who – as a token of appreciation – gave him the game used glove. It is inscribed: “To Doug, With very best wishes, Sandy Koufax.”

The biggest advantage were hands that spun miracles out of horsehide. One night in a hotel bar in Milwaukee, umpires Doug Harvey and Jocko Conlan were having a drink when Koufax came in, sat down, and sent over a couple of beers. "I immediately ordered him a drink," Harvey said. "’Cause Jocko said, ‘We don’t take nothing from nobody.’ In those days, that’s the way the great umpires were. I said, ‘Sandy, put your hand up here.’ And I took the base of my hand and put it against the base of his left hand. And it just went up. His fingers must have extended beyond my hand by an inch and a half."

When Koufax put up his hand, he put down his World Series lighter with his name and the image of Dodger Stadium engraved on it. Later, when Harvey got up to leave, the barkeep said, "Here, this is yours." He was tempted to keep it. "I carried it around until the next time I saw him," Harvey said. "He gave me his glove as a way of saying thanks."

–excerpted from page 148 of Jane Leavy’s biography Sandy Koufax, A Lefty’s Legacy, copyright 2002.

“Koufax embodied the concept of retiring at the top of one’s game,” said Chris Ivy, Director of Heritage Auction Galleries’ Sports Collectibles division. “His final season in 1966 saw him win his third Cy Young, by a unanimous vote, and once again lead his Dodgers to the National League pennant. This glove bore witness to true greatness.”

“The rock-solid provenance, paired with the supreme historical relevance of this rare piece, elevates it to true Cooperstown quality,” noted Ivy. “This is only the second Koufax fielder’s glove to reach the auction block in the past decade, and the only one dating to that historic final season.”

The glove Koufax wore during his 1963 no-hitter sold in late 2004 for $126,500.

Related: Sandy Koufax baseball cards and memorabilia