“This is Sandy Koufax”

In every great story, there are lessons tucked away for people aspire to write great stories. Here is one from David Finkel, who wrote a profile of Larry King in The Washington Post back in 1991. He observes King telling a story to a group of admirers that relates how he and the great southpaw pitcher Sandy Koufax were childhood friends in Brooklyn. Finkel doesn’t take this at face value, which is the lesson, and a hard one to learn, no matter how many times you hear it.

If you’re like me, you are a trusting person. You want to believe that people are telling the truth. So when Larry King tells you that he was friends with Sandy Koufax, you want to believe it. David Finkel checked it out anyway, as part of the correct process for writing a true story about Larry King.

The revelation in that phone call to Sandy Koufax is the one that made Finkel’s story — “Is He Happy? Is He All Right?” — a memorable one.

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