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Friday, April 27, 2007
Israeli league team drafts Koufax as tribute

Associated Press

Sandy Koufax
It's been 41 years since Sandy Koufax retired. But that didn't stop the Miracle from taking him with the last pick in the Israel Baseball League draft.
NEW YORK -- Forty-one years after he retired from baseball, Hall of Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax was the final player chosen in the draft to stock the six teams for the inaugural season of the Israel Baseball League.

Koufax, 71, was picked by the Modi'in Miracle in the draft conducted by former major league general manager Dan Duquette, who heads baseball operations for the league.

"His selection is a tribute to the esteem with which he is held by everyone associated with this league," said former big leaguer Aret Shamsky, who will manage the Miracle. "It's been 41 years between starts for him. If he's rested and ready to take the mound again, we want him on our team."

In the 1965 World Series, Koufax wouldn't pitch Game 1 for Los Angeles because he wanted to observe the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur. In his career with the Dodgers, he threw four no-hitters, including one perfect game.

The first pick in the draft was infielder Aaron Levin, 21, from San Luis Obispo, Calif., who played for Cuesta Community College, and who was also selected by Modi'in.

The league begins play June 24 with the six teams playing a 45-game schedule. Players from nine nations were drafted, and about a dozen of the 120 players in the league are expected to be Israeli citizens.