Sandy Koufax is my dad's favorite player because he said he was. And that's all he ever said about him. I don't think my dad really gave a shit about baseball. But he gave me a token effort because I loved it so much. He took me to an Angel game back in 1983 but I don't really remember much. I was 8. But as far as father-son bonding, I remember when he took me to a Dodger game in 1988. On the way down to Chavez Latrine, I asked him who his favorite player was when he was a kid. He said Koufax. No reason why, no explanation. That's it.
He had just had double bypass surgery not too long before. He had smoked cigarettes since he was 16. And he'd had a heart attack at 33 years old. In '88 he was 45. I was scared he would die, and he promised that he had quit smoking when he found out he needed the bypass. Well long story short, we watched the game, Orel Hershiser beat the Reds to continue his scoreless innings record streak. Walking out to the car, my dad pulls out some Marlboros and lights up. As a 13 year old kid, I was dumbfounded. i was pissed. It was the first time I saw my father as less than perfect. My dad never stopped smoking. He died from another heart attack in 1997 when he was 54.
That moment totally effected my life though. I've never smoked. Though I begrudge it to nobody. To each their own. And more importantly, I have never shown my kids a token interest in their own interests. I get to know their likes. Pokemon, check. My Little Pony, check. I Carly, check. Anything else they get into...you get the idea. I try to raise my kids by example, and always give a damn about what they care about. So for that I thank my father. I can never think of Sandy Koufax, my dad's favorite baseball player without hoping I'm doing right by my children.