A long time ago, I heard Don Sutton, Atlanta Braves radio announcer, tell this story about Sandy Koufax. Don’t stop reading because you aren’t a baseball fan, because it’s not a baseball story. Oh, it might sound like one initially, but trust me, it isn’t. This is a story about you and everything you choose to do. That’s the best way I describe it, but it doesn’t matter how I describe it. Read the story, and you’ll know what it’s about.
Both Don Sutton and Sandy Koufax are enshrined in baseball’s Hall of Fame. That means they are among the best that have played the position. They both played for the Dodgers: Koufax from 1955 – 1966; Sutton from 1966 – 1980. This isn’t a story that has been rewritten and changed and rewritten until it has no connection with truth. This is a first-hand account of what Sandy Koufax told Don Sutton when Don asked him if his goal was to pitch a perfect game every time he pitched.
If you aren’t a baseball person, there are some definitions you should know before you read Koufax’s response to Sutton’s question. A perfect game is 9 innings long, 27 batters come to the plate, and they are all retired – no one gets on base. There have only been twenty-two perfect games in the history of major league baseball, which covers more than 100 years. A no hitter meets the definition of a perfect game with one exception; someone got on base by either being walked or hit with a pitch. A shut out is a game in which the opposing team scores no runs, in spite of the fact that one or more of their players got on base.
Now, “the rest of the story.”
When Sutton asked Koufax if his goal was to throw a perfect game every time he pitched, he said, “Yes. And I kept that goal until I walked a batter. Then I revised it and determined that I would pitch a no hitter. That remained my objective until someone got a hit. If that happened, I decided that the game would be a shut-out. If they scored a run, I made a final revision of my objective for the game. I committed to do everything I could to make sure we won.”
Everything we choose to do requires an expenditure of time and effort. Get the most from your time investment. Commit to a “perfect game” in everything, every time. If something stops your perfect game, revise your goal just like Sandy Kovacs, who, by the way, is one of the twenty-two pitchers to pitch a perfect game.
— Bert Carson (@BertCarson) June 29, 2012