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Israeli league team drafts Koufax as tribute

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. Darryl Norenberg/WireImage.com

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.