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Pitching is upsetting timing

Warren Spahn had a pretty straight forward approach to pitching. He once described his approach on the mound: “Hitting is timing. Pitching is upsetting timing.” He seemed to have something there.

He won more games than any other left handed pitcher with an amazing 363. He won more than any post 1920 live ball era. Generally he is thought to be the best pitcher ever. Of course, he played for the Braves while they were in Boston. He played for 21 seasons. All of that was in the National League.

For 13 different seasons, he won 20 games or more. Even when he was 42, he could go 23-7. He won the Cy Young Award in 1957 and was runner up three times. He made it into the Hall of Fame in 1973.

And, did I mention, he played for the Braves?

The Year (1948)

How long would the Braves wait patiently under Billy Southworth for a pennant? 1948 was the year. The Braves finished in first with a record of 91-62, 6 & 1/2 games ahead.

The reward came to “Spahn and Sain and pray for rain.” It was a long draught. Not since 1914 had they come in first. And, it was almost an all-Boston World Series.

Warren Spahn and Johnny Sain (1947)

Warren Spahn and Johnny Sain were a VERY good combination in 1947 as the best pitchers around. Of course, they played for the Braves. The tied for second in victories. The had 21 each. That was just one behind Cincinnati’s Ewell Blackwell. He is well known for one of the more amazing things in baseball. Unfortunately it was against the Braves that season. He delivered a no hitter against us in June.

Spahn won his first eight games that season. Not a bad start. He also managed to lead the league with seven shutouts. He became the second Brave in the 20th century to lead the league in ERA. He had a fairly “decent” 2.33

Born in Buffalo (1921)

Buffalo NY has real winters. When you grow up there, you can’t play baseball year round. Spring and baseball means something come March and April. I am guessing none of this was lost on Warren Spahn . He was born in Buffalo in 1921. His career started in New England with the Boston Braves in 1942. He was to spend his whole career, except one year, with the Braves both in Boston and Milwaukee. His last year playing baseball (1965) he started out with the NY Mets and then move to the San Francisco Giants.

A couple of quick highlights about Warren:

  • He was a lefty and won 363 games. This is the most for a lefty.
  • He was the fifth winningest pitcher ever.
  • He threw 2 no hitters.
  • He won 3 ERA titles
  • He appeared in 14 All-Star Games. That is the most of any pitcher in the 20th century.

The hard winters of Buffalo can produce men of great character. Warren Spahn grew up there.

Born in Havana (1917)

Johnny Sain was born in Havana. It was 1917. OK, it wasn’t Cuba. But today in baseball that wouldn’t be unheard of. It was Arkansas. He is best known for teaming up with Warren Spahn on the Boston Braves. He was with the Braves from 1946 to 1951.

Here are a couple of quick highlights:

  • Born September 25, 1917 in Havana, Arkansas.
  • Died November 7, 2006.
  • A right handed pitcher.
  • MVP in 1948 in the Braves’ pennant winning season. He led the NL in wins, complete games and innings pitched.
  • He later became one the top pitching coaches in the majors.
  • Pitched for 11 years. He won 136 games. He lost 116. His combined ERA was 3.49.
  • His best years were after World War II. He won 100 games for the Braves.
  • He was traded to the New York Yankees (Boo Hiss!!!) in 1951.

Probably too bad much of his good stuff is lost against the backdrop of Warren Spahn but he was great.

Sain / Spahn poem (1948)

It is Labor Day in 1948. The Braves are on a pennant drive. The swept a Labor Day doubleheader. Spahn threw a complete 14 inning win in the opener. Sain, not to be outdone, threw a shutout in the second game. After two days off, it rained. Spahn won the next day. Sain won the day after that. Three days later what happened? Spahn won again. Sain won the next day.

So they take a day off. They both come back for a doubleheader. They both win. They went, 8-0 in twelve days.

Don’t you just love baseball. And so, they inspired this poem.

First we’ll use Spahn
then we’ll use Sain.
Then an off day
followed by rain.
Back will come Spahn
followed by Sain.
And followed
we hope
by two days of rain.

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