Remembering pitching legend Warren Spahn and his final act with the SF Giants

Warren Spahn represents one of the greatest figures in baseball history. The former SF Giants pitcher had an illustrious 21-year MLB career spanning from 1942-1965 that was broken up by three years of military service in the heart of World War II. On his birthday, we remember the legendary Warren Spahn.
Warren Spahn In Milwaukee Braves Uniform
Warren Spahn In Milwaukee Braves Uniform / Hulton Archive/GettyImages

The legend of Warren Spahn lives on today, just a couple of days after his birthday on April 21, as we look back on the illustrious career of one of baseball's great pitchers. Spahn began his career at the ripe age of 21 years old with the Boston Braves in 1942. He pitched in four games with two starts where he managed a 5.74 ERA across 15.2 IP. Following that season, he voluntarily enlisted in the United States Army to fight in World War II. He finished his career with the SF Giants in 1965.

Remembering pitching legend Warren Spahn and his final act with the SF Giants

During the next three years, Spahn would be awarded a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star. He would take part in the Battle of the Bulge and other notable historical events as a combat engineer. Spahn would miss three major league seasons while enlisted in the army and wouldn't return to baseball until 1946.

Now 25 years old, Spahn's career as a baseball player began to unfold. Over the next seven seasons, Spahn would have an ERA below 3.00 four times, and only once did it rise above 3.5. He would make five All-Star teams and receive MVP votes in five of the seven years. Following his age 31 season, the Braves would move from Boston to Milwaukee where Spahn would continue his dominance.

From 1952-1963, Spahn would never have a season ERA above 3.50. During that span, he would make ten All-Star appearances, win a Cy Young award in 1957, and finish top three in Cy Young voting four additional times coming in second three times. He would receive MVP votes in nine of those eleven years, landing in the top ten five times, and the top five four times. In 1957, the same year he won the Cy Young award. The lefty pitcher helped lead the Milwaukee Braves to a World Series title, the only championship of Spahn's career.

In 1964, at the age of 43, Spahn began showing signs of slowing down, managing a gaudy 5.29 ERA across 173.2 IP which is a lot in today's baseball but was the lowest innings total he had reached since his rookie year.

Due to this dip in production, Spahn was sold to the Mets before the 1965 season. In 1965, a now 44-year-old Spahn managed a 4.36 ERA with the Mets across 126 IP. However, that wasn't good enough for the Mets and they placed him on waivers where the San Francisco Giants laid a claim to the legend. Spahn finished his MLB career with the Giants, managing a 3.59 ERA across 71.2 IP before riding off into the sunset.

The southpaw hurler finished his MLB career with 5,243.2 IP, 3.09 ERA, 363 wins, and a 100.1 bWAR which is 14th among pitchers in MLB history. He retired with one Cy Young Award, one World Series title, 17 All-Star appearances, and three ERA titles. Spahn was inducted into the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility in 1973.

We would like to thank Warren Spahn, not only for his contribution to the game of baseball but for his heroic service during World War II. Spahn remains one of the most important figures in the history of MLB and while he may be gone, he is not forgotten. Join us in remembering Warren Spahn on his birthday.