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What's the explanation?
"He can throw strikes any time he wants," says Braves' Pitching Coach Whitlow Wyatt. "He gets the hitter to swing at the ball he wants. Control is the secret of the art. Spahn can put the ball over the plate. He does it more often and with more pitches than anybody. Screwball, slider, changeup, fast ball, everything."
"He thinks," says Farm Director John Mullen, who watches hundreds of young pitchers every year. " Spahn always knows what to do. He makes it his business to find out every hitter's weakness."
Spahn walked into the Braves' clubhouse. Sweat soaked his uniform. His hat was turned backwards on his head. His shirt was loose and flapped against his unfastened belt. He grabbed a towel and snapped it against the shorts of Catcher Del Crandall.
Warren Spahn had come from a tough workout. Now, in the privacy of the clubhouse, he played the clown. At 40, the great left-hander still thought there was some fun in baseball.
Henry Aaron was taking batting practice in St. Petersburg, leaping at pitches in his unique way, drilling some on a line over the fence and into the bay, others through the infield with such force they sent dirt into the air. After Aaron had sent the last pitch hooking meanly down the left-field line, the batting practice pitcher, a rookie, called to him. "Pretty good, hey Hank?" he said. "I mean, they were all right in there."
"Yeah," Aaron answered as he trotted toward the outfield, "and right out of there, too."