Warren Spahn began his big league career with a short stint with the Boston Braves in 1942, followed by 3 years in military service during World War II. After his return to the game in 1946, the high-kicking lefthander quickly became one of the premier pitchers in baseball, and during his 20 seasons with the Boston/Milwaukee Braves, and one split between the N.Y. Mets & S.F. Giants he put up some staggering numbers. With a lifetime 363-245 record, he is the winningest southpaw in the history of the game, and he recorded more wins (8 times NL leader) than any other pitcher in the “live ball” era. He had a 3.09 lifetime ERA (3 times NL leader), .597 winning pct., recorded 63 shutouts (4 times NL leader), 5243 innings pitched (4 times NL leader) and tossed 382 complete games (9 times NL leader). His 2583 strikeouts placed him first all-time for lefthanders at the time of his retirement in 1965. He was the 1957 Cy Young Award winner, and was runner-up in three other seasons, during a time when only one award was given throughout the majors. He won 20+ games 13 times, threw no-hitters in 1960 & ’61, and was named to 14 NL All-Star teams (more than any other pitcher). He was also a terrific hitting pitcher, and his 35 lifetime homeruns are the most in National League history. He was the ace of the 1957 World Champion Milwaukee pitching staff, and of the Braves National League pennant winning teams in 1948, ’57 & ’58.
His #21 was retired by the Braves in 1965, and he was elected to Cooperstown via BBWAA in 1973.
During his time in the military, Warren Spahn saw action at the Battle of the Bulge, and was awarded the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star, making him the most decorated ballplayer in history.
May 31, 2016