No. 49, Warren Spahn – The Athletic

Starting in December and ending on Opening Day, Joe Posnanski will count down the 100 greatest baseball players by publishing an essay on a player every day for 100 days. In all, this project will contain roughly as many words as “Moby Dick.” Yes, we know it’s nutty. We hope you enjoy. 

First we’ll use Spahn

then we’ll use Sain

Then an off day

followed by rain

Back will come Spahn

followed by Sain

And followed we hope

by two days of rain.

— Gerald V. Hern poem on the 1948 Braves

Warren Spahn was, as they used to say in his time, one smart cookie. He wanted to be a first baseman, you know. His father, Ed, didn’t want that. Ed raised Warren to pitch on the sound principle that teams will always need left-handed pitching (while also figuring that, as a lefty, his son had limited options in the field). Ed Spahn was pretty relentless about it; he made his son pitch so many…

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