Warren Spahn

Warren Spahn

Major League Baseball Hall of Famer

Despite three years in the military during his early 20s, Warren Spahn nonetheless won more games than any other lefthander in major league history. He is considered by many to be the greatest left-handed hurler in the history of the game.

The South Buffalo native won 363 games in all, not only tops for lefties, but fifth among all pitchers. Spahn won 20 or more games 13 times, second only to Cy Young’s 16, and most in National League history. He also pitched 382 complete games, 5,246 career innings and 200 or more innings a season 17 times – all National League records.

He had 63 shutouts to his credit, and two no-hitters (tossed when he was 39 and 40 years old). He also recorded a career high 18 strikeouts, which stood as a National League record for several years.

Signed to the Boston Braves in 1940 at the age of 19, Spahn would play only briefly for the organization for the next six years, due to an injury to his throwing arm and three years with the U.S. Army overseas. He returned to the Braves partway through the 1946 season, and in 1947 Spahn would begin a string of incredible pitching performances, winning 20 or more games in 13 of the next 17 seasons. During this span, Spahn was named National League pitcher of the year four times (1953, ’57, ’58, ’61) and Cy Young Award winner once (1957).

Spahn helped lead the Boston Braves to their first pennant in 34 years in 1948. The Braves would lose the World Series to Cleveland, but Spahn and the then-Milwaukee Braves would return in 1957 and ’58, both against the New York Yankees, winning in ’57 in seven games.

Spahn finished his career with the New York Mets in 1964 and the San Francisco Giants in ’65. In 1973, Spahn became the first native Buffalonian to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.