An American Hobby: Baseball Memorabilia – Warren Spahn’s Card (1948 Leaf Set)
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Sunday, May.05, 2013
MLB Reports: We are pleased to present you with Baseball Author Lee Edelstein as the newest writer with us at the Reports. Lee will be providing us with great stories about baseball memorabilia on a regular basis.
An American Hobby
This week’s article is about a member of the 300 Win Club.
Warren Spahn is one of the greatest pitchers of all time, but he didn’t win his first major league game until he was twenty-five. So how did he become the winningest left-handed pitcher in MLB history?
In a word, consistency. Among his many achievements, Spahnie had thirteen 20+ win seasons, including a run of six consecutive years.
Imagine if he didn’t lose four years to WWII (where he saw active duty and was awarded the Purple Heart and Bronze Star)?
Warren Spahn’s Career Highlights:
Warren Spahn had a stellar career that spanned twenty-one seasons. He totaled 363 victories, #6 on the all-time wins list and the most of any pitcher in the post-1920 live ball era. Spahn was a 14 time All-Star, more than any pitcher in baseball history.
He stands at #8 in innings pitched, #6 in shutouts (63), #14 in games started, #21 in complete games and #14 in WAR. He won three ERA titles and won the Cy Young Award in 1957, back when only one award was given out each season.
Oh yeah, he was a pretty good hitter, too. Spahn holds the NL record for most home runs (35) by a pitcher. In 1999, The Sporting News ranked Spahn 21st on their list of Baseball’s 100 greatest ballplayers.
In 1963, at the age of forty-two, Spahn went an amazing 23-7. On July 2nd of that year, he squared off in one of the greatest pitched games in baseball history.
The Braves and Giants were deadlocked in a 0-0 game in the 14th inning when Alvin Dark, manager of the Giants, walked out to the pitching mound to visit with his tired starting pitcher, Juan Marichal. “You’re done,” said Dark to the young Marichal. Marichal didn’t move. “Do you see that other man on the mound?” he said to his manager. “
That man is forty-two years old. I’m twenty-five. I’ll come out when he comes out.” Spahn and Marichal pitched into the 16th inning when Willie Mays homered off of Spahn to win the game 1-0. Marichal threw 227 pitches while Spahn threw 201 pitches. There were no 100-pitch limits in those days!
Spahn’s career was almost short-circuited before it ever began. Signed by the Boston Braves, he was called up to the major league team in 1942, when he was twenty years old.
In an exhibition game, Spahn was told by the Braves manager, none other than Casey Stengel, to hit the Dodgers’ Pee Wee Reese with a pitch. When Spahn refused, Stengel yanked him from the game, kicked him off the roster, and sent him to the minors.
Years later, Stengel would admit it was the worst mistake he ever made as a manager – “I said ‘no guts’ to a kid who went on to become a war hero and one of the greatest lefthanded pitchers you ever saw. You can’t say I don’t miss ’em when I miss ’em.” The Braves finished next to last in 1942 and Stengel was fired.
Twenty-three years later, Spahn and Stengel were reunited when Spahn, in the final year of his career, played for Stengel and the NY Mets, a team that was worse than the ’42 Braves.
Referring to Stengel’s unparalleled success with the Yankees from 1949-60, Spahn wisecracked, “I’m probably the only guy who played with Casey before and after he was a genius.”
Card #32 of the 1948 Leaf set is Warren Spahn’s first color baseball card. That particular set was plagued with quality control issues. Finding a well-centered card with the right color registration is difficult. Of the 538 Spahn cards reviewed by PSA, one has received a grade of 10, gem mint perfect, and only four have received a grade of 9, mint. In 2008, a Spahn 1948 Leaf, graded 9, sold for $30,000.
Have any Warren Spahn cards laying around?
***The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com or their partners***
A big thank-you goes out to Our ‘Baseball Memorabilia Enthusiast’ Lee Edelstein for preparing today’s featured article. Lee was born and raised in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn, New York.
He inherited his love of baseball from his dad. The game has been Lee’s constant companion since he was seven years old – when his dad took him to see his first ball game at Ebbets Field. This was followed by a brief and largely unsuccessful Little League career. While he wasn’t all that good on the ball field he became an ALL-Star at collecting baseball cards.
His collection is still alive today after surviving many scares over the years. Lee was also much better at business than playing baseball. He was good enough that he was able to retire and pursue his other passion – writing about baseball!
Chin Music is his first novel. He is hard at work on his second, Mound Music. You can read a full overview and find links to purchase here and also check out a quick synopsis in the picture below. Feel Free to follow Lee on Twitter and chat about the game of baseball. Follow @chinmusicstory
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Posted on May 5, 2013, in The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged 1948 Leaf Card Set, @chinmusicstory on twitter, All - Time Pitching wins list, Atlanta Braves, BBHOF, candelstick park, Casey Stengel, chin music story the Book, cy young, jamie moyer, juan marichal, lee edelstein, milwaukee braves', pee wee reese, phil niekro, purple heart recipient, san francisco giants, warren spahn, willie mays, world war 2, www.chinmusicstory.com. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.