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Today In Brewer History: Happy anniversary, Warren Spahn

The greatest pitcher in Milwaukee baseball history signed his first pro contract 73 years ago today.


Later this week Major League Baseball will hold their annual June draft, an institution that's been around so long that we sometimes forget what came before it. Before 1965, all players were signed as amateur free agents. On this day in 1940 the Braves signed left handed pitcher Warren Spahn out of South Park High School in Buffalo, New York and, while he took a roundabout path to the major league stardom, he turned out to be a remarkable investment.

Spahn made his major league debut as a 20-year-old in 1942, but appeared in just two games for the Boston Braves before spending three years serving in the Army in World War II. While there, he was honored with a bronze star and purple heart. He returned to the majors in 1946 and his success was nearly immediate.

Spahn was already a five-time All Star and 122 game winner when he followed the Braves to Milwaukee in 1953, but his career got even better after his move west. He was a 20 game winner nine times in 12 seasons in Milwaukee, leading the National League six times. He also represented the city in nine All Star games and won the Cy Young Award in 1957.

With help from and the B-Ref Play Index, happy birthday today to:

Today is also the eleventh anniversary of the Brewers making Prince Fielder the #7 overall pick in the 2002 draft, which we covered in this space last year, and the 43rd anniversary of the Brewers selecting Darrell Porter with the #4 overall pick in 1970, which we covered in this space two years ago.