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Two Greats Going Toe-To-Toe

Posted by Steve Lombardi on June 5, 2010

There's a sporting event taking place at Yankee Stadium today. But, it's not baseball-related. More via the L.A. Daily News -

Yuri Foreman made his amateur boxing bones growing up in Israel after moving from Belarus at age 9. His goal was to become a world champion as a pro, but duking it out one day in Yankee Stadium never entered his mind.

Foreman will defend his junior middleweight world title there tonight against Miguel Cotto of Puerto Rico. It is the first fight in the new Yankee Stadium and the first fight at either the new or old one since Muhammad Ali and Ken Norton tangled nearly 34 years ago.

"Never in my wildest dreams after I decided to leave Israel and pursue a boxing career in the United States, did I think I would be fighting at Yankee Stadium, much less the very first fight ever (in the new one)," said Foreman, 29, who moved to Brooklyn 11 years ago.

"I'm looking here and I can't believe it. This is the place where Joe Louis, Sugar Ray Robinson and Rocky Marciano fought. And look at me, a guy from Israel who is joining all of them in defending a world championship here. It's awe-inspiring."

The media attention for the fight has been enormous in the Big Apple. With a large Puerto Rico population there, Cotto has drawn 93,000 to fights in New York City over the past decade. And Foreman is training to be a Rabbi. The large Jewish population of the city will have his back.

Since the media has decided to really play the Jewish/Puerto Rican angle on this event, and it's being played in a baseball facility, I thought I would try and spin off all that and use Play Index to give us some "baseball" stuff to look at and discuss. And, here it is - the year by year record of Sandy Koufax facing Roberto Clemente:

  Year PA AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS SH SF IBB HBP GDP missG missYr
  1955 5 4 1 0 0 0 1 1 1 .250 .400 .250 .650 0 0 0 0 0 0  
  1956 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1.000 1.000 1.000 2.000 0 0 0 0 0 0  
  1957 9 6 3 1 0 0 1 3 0 .500 .667 .667 1.333 0 0 0 0 0 0  
  1958 10 10 3 2 0 0 1 0 1 .300 .300 .500 .800 0 0 0 0 0 0  
  1959 4 3 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 .000 .250 .000 .250 0 0 0 0 0 0  
  1960 15 14 3 0 0 1 1 1 4 .214 .267 .429 .695 0 0 0 0 1 0  
  1961 18 18 7 2 0 1 5 0 2 .389 .389 .667 1.056 0 0 0 0 1 0  
  1962 5 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0 0 0 0  
  1963 11 11 6 0 0 2 4 0 2 .545 .545 1.091 1.636 0 0 0 0 0 0  
  1964 12 9 4 1 1 1 1 3 2 .444 .583 1.111 1.694 0 0 0 0 0 0  
  1965 17 17 2 0 0 0 0 0 5 .118 .118 .118 .235 0 0 0 0 1 0  
  1966 15 13 3 0 1 1 2 1 2 .231 .286 .615 .901 1 0 1 0 0 0  
  TOT 122 111 33 6 2 6 16 10 20 .297 .355 .550 .905 1 0 1 0 3 0 0
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 6/5/2010.

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Overall, Roberto did pretty good against Sandy, wouldn't you say?  An OPS of .905  on 122 PA is impressive.  And, look at these two games - played somewhat close to each other:  May 17, 1964 and May 31, 1964.  In a span of 6 PA over those two games, Clemente hit for the cycle against Koufax.    Does that count as a TKO?

This entry was posted on Saturday, June 5th, 2010 at 9:48 pm and is filed under Pitcher vs. Batter. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

6 Responses to “Two Greats Going Toe-To-Toe”

  1. steve- who are you rooting for in the boxing match? (just curious)

  2. Kahuna Tuna Says:

    I realize they're not all-time greats, but check out Frank Howard's domination of lefthander Clyde Wright.

  3. @cubbies -

    No one. I don't following boxing. If not for the fact that this fight was at Yankee Stadium, or the fact that I have HBO, I wouldn't have even known the was a fight on Saturday.

    But, for the record, I really admire the way boxers train. It's a great routine and they are in great shape - most of them, that is - much more so that most baseball players...at least baseball players before, say, 1988ish.

  4. DoubleDiamond Says:

    I hadn't heard of Yuri Foreman before, but if I had heard of the fight and didn't know that he's from Israel, I probably would have figured that he was one of the "George Foreman, Jr.'s".

  5. Looking at the stats, I'd say Koufax fared a little better in these match-ups -- but then, anyone hitting .296 against him could scarcely be termed a "loser" -- especially when two of Clemente's biggest years against Sandy were 1963 and 1964 -- during his hottest years as a pitcher.

  6. "Looking at the stats, I'd say Koufax fared a little better in these match-ups"

    Which stats say that? :)