Warren Spahn* 2016


South Park High School  (Buffalo Public Schools)


Warren Spahn (April 23, 1921 – November 24, 2003) was a Major League Baseball left-handed pitcher who played his entire 21-year baseball career in the National League.  He won 20 or more per season in 13 seasons, including a 23–7 record when he was age 42.  Spahn Spahn was the 1957 Cy Young Award winner, and was the runner-up three times, all during the period when one award was given, covering both leagues.  He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1973, with 83% of the total vote. 


His major league career began in 1942 with the Braves and he spent all but one year with that franchise, first in Boston and then in Milwaukee.  He finished his career in 1965 with the New York Mets and the San Francisco Giants.   With 363 wins, Spahn is the 6th most winning pitcher in history.  He led the league in wins eight times (1949–50, 1953, 1957–61, each season with 20+ wins) and won at least 20 games an additional five times (1947, 1951, 1954, 1956, 1963).


Spahn threw two no-hitters (in 1960 and 1961, at ages 39 and 40), won 3titles (1947, 1953, and 1961), and four strikeout crowns (1949–52).  He appeared in 14 All-Star Games, the most of any pitcher in the 20th century.  He won the NL Player of the Month Award in August 1960 (6-0, 2.30 ERA, 32 SO) and August 1961 (6-0, 1.00 ERA, 26 SO). 


In 1957, Spahn was the ace of the Champion Milwaukee Braves.  Spahn pitched on two other Braves pennant winners, in 1948 and 1958.  He had 2,583 strikeouts, which at the time of his retirement was the highest total for a left-handed pitcher in baseball history.  Spahn led the NL in strikeouts for four consecutive seasons, from 1949 to 1952, which includes a single game high of  18 strike outs (then the NL record) in a 15-inning appearance on June 14, 1952. 


Spahn won 363 games, more than any other left-handed pitcher in history, and more than any other pitcher who played his entire career in the post-1920 live-ball era.  He is acknowledged as one of the best pitchers in Major League Baseball history.  The  Warren Spahn Award, given to the major leagues' best left-handed pitcher, is named after him.


Along with many other professional players, Spahn chose to enlist in the United States Army, after finishing the 1942 season in the minors. He served with distinction, and was awarded a Purple Heart.  He saw action in the Battle of the Bulge and at the Ludendorff Bridge as a combat engineer, and was awarded a battlefield commission.


Spahn managed the Tulsa Oilers for five seasons, winning 372 games from 1967 to 1971.  His 1968 club won the Pacific Coast League championship.  He also coached for the Mexico City Tigers, and pitched a handful of games there.  He was a pitching coach with the Cleveland Indians, in the minor leagues for the California Angels, and for six years, with Japan's Hiroshima Toyo Carp.

For many years he owned and ran the large Diamond Star Ranch south of Hartshorne, Oklahoma before retiring to live near a golf course in Broken Arrow.

Spahn died of natural causes, at his home in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma on November 24, 2003 .  He is interred in the Elmwood Cemetery in Hartshorne. After his death, a street was named after him in Buffalo, New York that connects Abbott Road with  Seneca Street, through Cazenovia Park, in the heart of South Buffalo.  The street is near South Park High School, Spahn's alma mater.

* Posthumously awarded