The Cleveland Indians defeated the New York Yankees, 22-0, on 8/31. Now Steinbrenner’s upset. Why? Because Cleveland went for the two-point conversion on their last touchdown late in the fourth quarter, and made it. Georgie doesn’t know it yet, but what he’s going to show for his $190 million dollar payroll this season is lots of profit, but, once again, no World Series championship. When El Duque is your most consistent pitcher heading into the playoffs, you have a definite problem!
Story of the Week
Stan Musial once said, "I don’t think Warren Spahn will ever get into the Hall of Fame. He’ll never stop pitching." Well, Spahn did stop pitching, finally, but not until he became a legend of the game.
Warren Spahn pitched long enough to be a Boston Brave under Casey Stengel in 1942, and a Met under Stengel again in 1965. In between, he became the highest winning left-hander in major league history, emerging with wins in 363 games. He put 15,741 batters out of their misery, won 20 or more games in 13 seasons, and had a lifetime ERA of 3.09.
Not necessarily regarded as a strikeout artist, he nonetheless recorded 2,583 K’s in his career, and led the National League four straight years in that department, from 1949 to 1952. He led the league in wins five times outright, had the most shutouts four times, and compiled the lowest ERA three times. He was an outstanding fielder, and a fine hitter, having popped a NL record 35 career home runs.
After a brief stint with the Braves in 1942, he enlisted in the Army in World War II, suffered serious injury in combat, and was awarded the Purple Heart. After the war, he made his mark in baseball in 1947 by posting a 21-10 record for Boston, leading the NL in ERA at 2.33, and innings pitched with 289. The Braves won the pennant in 1948, fueled by "Spahn and Sain and two days of rain," but the franchise fell upon hard times thereafter.
The Braves were moved to Milwaukee in 1953. Spahn pitched in his third of seven All-Star games that year, and got the win. The Braves won pennants in ’57 and ’58, defeated the Yankees in the ’57 World Series, and Spahn was awarded the Cy Young that year.
When the 1960 season began, Spahn had won 267 MLB games without a no-hitter. He remedied this oversight on September 15, striking out 15 Phillies to win his 20th. game of the season. In 1961, five days after his 40th. birthday, Spahn pitched his second no-hitter.
Spahn did eventually retire, and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1973. Of the left-handed pitchers I’ve seen during my lifetime, I can make a case for Sandy Koufax being the best, and for Steve Carlton being the best. And I can certainly make a case for Warren Spahn being the best as well; the numbers certainly justify it.
Last Week’s Trivia
Ernie Nevers scored 40 points in a NFL game, and pitched two home run balls to Babe Ruth in 1927. Nevers scored those 40 points, still a NFL single game record, as a member of the Chicago Cardinals in a game against the Chicago Bears in 1929. It should be noted that those 40 points was the total scored by the Cardinals in that game.
Trivia Question of the Week
Who are the only two brothers to have pitched MLB no-hitters? See next week’s Sports Junkie for the answer.