Spahnie

“Hitting is timing and pitching is upsetting timing.”
Hall of Famer Warren Spahn

Warren Spahn, with 363 victories, won more games than any other left handed pitcher. Spahn was a 17-time All-Star who won 20 games 13 times. Spahn pitched on three Pennant winning teams: the 1948 Boston Braves, the 1957, and ’58 Milwaukee Braves. Warren Spahn won the second ever Cy Young Award in 1957 when the Braves won their only World Championship in Milwaukee.

Warren Spahn was inducted into Baseball’s Hall of Fame in 1973 and he was named to Major League Baseball’s All-Century team. Warren Spahn also was a War Hero, having been awarded a Purple Heart in World War II.

Studies show that goal setters work harder, longer, better and differently. With the start of the New Year and with many people setting goals, I thought it was appropriate to write about Warren Spahn. Warren Spahn had one goal every season – to win 20 games. His manager with the Milwaukee Braves, Chuck Dressen once said that all Warren Spahn thinks about and talks about is “winning 20 games.” Spahn was so focused that he achieved his goal 13 times.

I watched Warren Spahn pitch at the end of his career. I liked the nice, slow upswing in his delivery; he came directly over the top, and had very good mechanics that enabled him to pitch into his 40’s.

When Spahn was young, in 1948, he and Johnny Sain gave the Braves a great one-two punch. “Spahn and Sain and pray for rain” was the rallying cry. As Spahn got older he relied on “pitching smarts.” He was a 20 game winner at age 42.

I never will forget a game in 1963, Braves playing the Giants, two future Hall of Famers Spahn and Juan Marichal hooked up. It turned out to be too much of a good thing. Neither Spahn nor Marichal would come out of the game. Willie Mays hit a home run in the bottom of the 16th inning to give the Giants a 1-0 win! Warren Spahn was 42 years old! What a competitor!

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