Warren Spahn was born on April 23rd, 1921 in Buffalo, New York. In 1940 the left-handed Spahn was signed by the Boston Bees, -- from 1936-1940 the Boston Braves were nicknamed "Bees" -- in 1942, Spahn would make his MLB debut with the Boston Braves.
On April 19th Spahn would make his first major league appearance against the NY Giants, Spahn would face and retire 2 batters. The next day Spahn would be called on to pitch three innings of relief against the Brooklyn Dodgers. Spahn would give up 4 runs on 5 hits and 4 walks. Spahn would draw the ire of Brave's manager Casey Stengel when Spahn refused to plunk Dodger shortstop Pee Wee Reese. Stengel would send his young pitcher to the minors after the game. Twenty-three years later Stengel and Spahn would be reunited on the struggling NY Mets. Spahn was quoted as saying "I am probably the only man to work for Stengel before and after he was a genius".
Spahn would return to the Braves in September, getting his first start on September 13th, and his first complete game on September on September 26th. Spahn would not get a decision in either game, even though he pitched a complete game on the 26th. The Braves were outscored 5-2, but ended up winning via the Giants forfeit.
Warren Spahn would serve his country from 1943-45 as a combat engineer. His bravery at the Ludendorff Bridge and the Battle of the Bulge would earn him a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star. Spahn would return to the majors in 1946 at the age of 25, to partner with pitcher Johnny Sain, creating one of baseball's most memorable lines, "Spahn and Sain, then pray for rain".
After a mediocre 1946 season in which Spahn would go (8-5), Spahn would begin his dominance of the National League in 1947. Spahn would win 21 games for the Boston Braves, the first of thirteen 20+ wins seasons Spahn would generate for the Braves. Spahn would also lead the NL in shutouts (7), innings (289.2) and ERA (2.33). Spahn would also be elected to his first of 14 All-Star Games.
In 1948 Spahn would lead the Braves to the World Series to face the Cleveland Indians. Spahn would pitch in 3 games starting 1, and pitching in relief twice. Spahn would get a WS win, but the Indians powered by the arms of Bob Feller and Bob Lemon would prevail.
1949 to 1952 would be the last four years that the Braves would be in Boston, during those 4 seasons Spahn would lead the NL in strikeouts every year, and win 20+ games in three of those seasons.
In 1953 the Braves would move to Milwaukee, and Spahn would lead the NL with career high in ERA (2.10) and wins (23). In 1956 Spahn would win 20 games for the seventh time in his career, it would also start a streak of six consecutive 20+ win seasons. In 1957 Spahn would start a streak of leading the NL in complete games for seven consecutive seasons. Spahn would win 21 games, and win his only Cy Young award in 1957 as well.
In 1957 and 1958 Spahn would pitch the Braves into back-to-back World Series appearances against the New York Yankees. In 1957 Spahn would get two starts, winning one and losing the other. In 1958 Spahn would get starts winning two, losing one, featuring a two-hit shutout.
Warren Spahn threw his first no-hitter at the age of 39 in 1960, he would throw his second no-no the following year after his 40th birthday. Spahn would finish 2nd in the Cy Young balloting in both seasons. At the age of 42, Spahn would win 23 games for the Milwaukee Braves, the most ever by a pitcher 42 years old or older. At the end of the 1964 season, Warren Spahn would be sold to the struggling NY Mets, and then pitch for the SF Giants to finish the 1965 season and his MLB career.
After pitching in the minors for a couple of seasons, Spahn would be elected to the MLB Hall of Fame in 1973 garnering 82.9% of the vote. Warren Spahn would finish his career with 363 wins (6th all-time), the most ever by a left hander, and the most wins by any pitcher who started his career after 1920.
From 1953 to 1964, no Milwaukee pitcher came close to matching Spahn's marks. Spahn made 399 starts for the Braves and completed 232 of those games. Spahn won 234 games for Milwaukee, and 63% of his decisions.