Today in Baseball History

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Rest in peace

Warren Spahn (23 April 1921, Buffalo, NY — 24 November 2003, Broken Arrow, OK) was a Hall of Fame Major League pitcher for 21 seasons.

The majority of Spahn’s playing career was spent in a Braves uniform, but never in Atlanta. He first played for the Braves in Boston and then in Milwaukee from 1942-1952 and 1953-1964, respectively.

He spent the season 1943-1945 in a military uniform; Spahn saw combat action at the Battle of the Bulge and Luddendorf Bridge. Spahn enlisted in the Army after the 1942 season because he finished that season in the minors due to an argument with Braves manager Casey Stengel. THE Casey Stengel. Spahn refused to throw at Pee Wee Reese in an exhibition game. Stengel would go on to say:

I said “no guts” to a kid who went on to become a war hero and one of the greatest lefthanded pitchers you ever saw. You can’t say I don’t miss ‘em when I miss ‘em.

Spahn earned a battlefield commission and was awarded a Bronze Star and Purple Heart.

Back in the States and in the Majors from the 1946 season on, Spahn had an outstanding career. He led the league 3 times in ERA, 8 times in Wins, and 4 times in Strikeouts. He was a 17 time All Star, won the Cy Young Award in 1957, and was a member of the Milwaukee Braves team that would win the World Series in 1957. Spahn would pitch in two other World Series for the Braves.

He found himself in a duel on 2 July 1963 with Juan Marichal. Spahn was already ranked among the greats, and Marichal would be in the future. The game went 16 innings. Neither pitcher was replaced. Marichal made 227 pitches and Spahn made 201. Both had complete games, Marichal got the win when Willie Mays hit a home run against Spahn in the Bottom of the 16th Inning.

His 363 wins are the most for a left-handed pitcher and the most for any pitcher who pitched his whole career in the live ball era. When he retired his 2,583 strikeouts were the most of any left-handed pitcher.

His number was retired by the Braves franchise and he was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1973. He died of natural causes and is buried in Elmwood Cemetery in Hartshorne, OK.

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