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Larry Harnisch reflects on Los Angeles history

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Sandy Koufax and Charley Neal on the Radio

June 11, 1960, Koufax

June 11, 1960: After Sandy Koufax retired, he spent some time as a clearly uncomfortable member of NBC's baseball coverage. So it's surprising to find a Times critic praising Koufax's ability as a communicator.

Koufax and fellow Dodger Charlie Neal were the key parts of a baseball program on radio station KDAY and Don Page, The Times' radio critic, thought the Dodger left-hander was "becoming a first-rate sports commentator."

"You've heard I'm sure how most baseball players are pathetically noncommittal, afraid to second guess and not too illuminating when interviewed," Page wrote. "Koufax's departure from this is complete."

Maybe Sandy should have stayed on radio instead of television.

Page is far less kind about one of my favorite old shows, "Home Run Derby," which was set in Los Angeles' Wrigley Field. He reviewed an episode with Henry Aaron and Bob Allison in a home-run hitting contest.

"Now here is a classic example of … the dull interview as opposed to the bright, informative exchange," Page wrote. "Mark Scott, the commentator, failed to extract the least bit of information from either participant. The entire program was laced with absurdities."

Perhaps Page didn't realize it was a home run or nothing on "Home Run Derby."

--Keith Thursby

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