Warren Edward Spahn (see cover) has won more games (183) during the postwar decade than any other pitcher (righty or lefty) and is the ranking left-hander in baseball today. He won 20 games or more six times; led the league in strikeouts four times; won the most games in three seasons and twice had the best earned run average.
Spahn was born in Buffalo 35 years ago. His father, a semipro third baseman, taught Warren the fundamentals of baseball as soon as he could toddle, and by the time he was 9, Spahn was playing on teams in Buffalo as a first baseman. When he entered high school, Warren switched to pitching. The fine control and fast ball that have since become a Spahn trademark brought the boy to the attention of a Boston Braves scout. In 1939, years before the big bonus era, the 18-year-old Spahn received nothing for signing.
He spent three years in the minors, came up to the Braves at the end of the 1942 season and then was drafted into the Army for three years. He became the only major leaguer to win a battlefield commission for bravery in action. Spahn returned to the Braves in June 1946. In 1947, his first full year in the majors, he had the first of his 20-game seasons (21-10). During the last month of the 1948 season, the strong pitching of Spahn and teammate Johnny Sain inspired the memorable slogan, " Spahn and Sain and two days of rain." Their efforts brought the Braves their first pennant in 34 years.
Now in his 12th season in the majors, Warren Spahn is one of baseball's highest-salaried players ($45,000). A member of the All-Star team seven times, he was the winning pitcher in 1953. Easygoing and popular with his teammates, Spahn has been married 10 years and has a 7-year-old son named Greg. In the off season the Spahns live on an 800-acre ranch near Hartshorne, Okla. where they tend their herd of registered Hereford cattle.