Sandy Koufax in 1962.

Sandy Koufax in 1962. Credit: AP

Tom Brokaw grew up in South Dakota in the 1940s and '50s, far from the nearest Major League Baseball team, but he was a fan of the sport, and come 1947 he was informed which team the family was going to adopt henceforth.

"We're going to be for the Dodgers and Jackie Robinson; they're really doing something important here," Brokaw, the long-time NBC News anchor and reporter, recalled his grandfather saying at the time.

So it was, an affiliation that continued when Brokaw landed a job with NBC in Los Angeles in 1966, where he was anchor of the local nightly news in Sandy Koufax's final season with the Dodgers.

Fast forward to the summer of 2014, when Brokaw attended the Baseball Hall of Fame induction in Cooperstown after having written the foreword to "The Hall: A Celebration of Baseball's Greats," marking the Hall's 75th anniversary.

Here is a story he told about his reunion with Koufax during an interview with Newsday designed primarily to promote his NBCSN show, "Opening Day," which premieres Wednesday night and focuses on the opening of the pheasant hunting season in South Dakota:

"I've been privileged to go to a lot of great events in my life, but to be an invited guest and stay at the hotel this year for the induction of [Joe] Torre and [Bobby] Cox and [Greg] Maddux and Roger Angell as a writer, Frank Thomas...It was one of the great, great weekends of my life.

"One of my early heroes was Sandy Koufax. I lived in Los Angeles when he was pitching for the Dodgers, and I would sneak away and go out for the first few innings and sit in the press box and watch over the catcher's head and try to figure out: How does anybody hit this guy?

"And then I met him a few times, but not many. He's a longtime friend of [Mets owner] Fred Wilpon, as you may know. They were boyhood players together [at Lafayette High in Brooklyn]. And Fred said, 'Look, Sandy wants to have dinner with you tonight.'

"So I had dinner with him and he looked at me and laughed and he said 'I watched you all the time when you first came on in Los Angeles. Your tie was crooked.' I burst out laughing and said, 'Damn it, you are the only person who noticed!'

"When I first got to Los Angeles and was on the air, I tied my tie in a funny knot, and it never looked right. After about four months, I went to the wardrobe department and said, 'What am I doing wrong here?' They said, 'You are tying an overhand and you need to tie a half Windsor,' which I did.

"And Sandy said to me immediately: 'And you got it fixed after a few months.'

I said, 'You remember all of that?' So we had a lot of laughs about it and we had a great time at dinner.

"My feeling was seeing all of those guys, [Johnny] Bench and [Hank] Aaron and Torre and [Bob] Gibson, if they were going to elect somebody as their Homecoming king, it would probably be Sandy Koufax. They all came by to pay their respects. He was beautifully dressed. He doesn't look a day over 50, and he's almost 80 now. [He turns 79 next month.] And he could not have been more charming.

"So I wrote the foreword to the 75th memorial, the big book they're putting out, and they sent me a copy with a lot of autographs in it, but it didn't have Sandy's autograph in it. So I sent one to him and said, 'Would you do me the honor of signing this? And if you do, I will make sure my tie is always right.'

"And it came back [Monday] and inside it said 'Dear Tom, your knot is the best in the business.'"

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