How Warren Spahn, the Greatest Left-Handed Pitcher of All Time, Died of Natural Causes

Warren Spahn was a legendary baseball player who played for 21 seasons in the major leagues, mostly for the Boston and Milwaukee Braves. He was a left-handed pitcher who won 363 games, the most by any left-hander in history. He was also a 17-time All-Star, a Cy Young Award winner, a World Series champion, and a Hall of Famer. He was known for his durability, his control, and his ability to outsmart hitters. He once said, “Hitting is timing. Pitching is upsetting timing.”

But how did Warren Spahn, the greatest left-handed pitcher of all time, die of natural causes? Here is a brief overview of his life, his career, and his death.

Early Life and Military Service

Warren Spahn was born on April 23, 1921, in Buffalo, New York. He was named after President Warren G. Harding and his father, Edward Spahn. He grew up playing baseball with his father and wanted to be a first baseman, but switched to pitching when he realized he had a strong arm. He attended South Park High School, where he led his team to two city championships and threw a no-hitter in his senior year.

Spahn signed with the Boston Braves in 1940 and made his major league debut in 1942, but he only pitched in four games before being sent to the minors. He then joined the Army in 1943 and served in World War II as a combat engineer. He fought in the Battle of the Bulge, helped build the bridge at Remagen, and earned a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart. He later said that his military service made him appreciate baseball more and made him a better pitcher.

Baseball Career and Achievements

Spahn returned to the Braves in 1946 and became their ace pitcher. He won 21 games in 1947, the first of his 13 seasons with 20 or more wins. He formed a formidable duo with Johnny Sain, inspiring the famous rhyme, “Spahn and Sain and pray for rain.” He also developed a variety of pitches, including a fastball, a curveball, a screwball, and a changeup. He was known for his smooth delivery, his high leg kick, and his ability to adjust to different situations and hitters.

Spahn reached the peak of his career in the 1950s, when he led the National League in wins eight times, in ERA three times, and in strikeouts four times. He also won the Cy Young Award in 1957, when he went 21-11 with a 2.69 ERA and helped the Braves win their first World Series title since 1914. He pitched two no-hitters, one in 1960 against the Phillies and one in 1961 against the Giants, becoming the oldest pitcher to do so at age 40. He also hit 35 home runs in his career, the most by any pitcher.

Spahn continued to pitch well into his forties, winning 23 games in 1963 at age 42. He left the Braves in 1964 and played for the Mets and the Giants in 1965, before retiring at age 44. He finished his career with a record of 363-245, a 3.09 ERA, and 2,583 strikeouts. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1973, in his first year of eligibility, with 82.89% of the vote. He is also a member of the Major League Baseball All-Century Team and the recipient of the Warren Spahn Award, which is given annually to the best left-handed pitcher in the majors.

Death and Legacy

Spahn died on November 24, 2003, at his home in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, from natural causes. He was 82 years old and is survived by his son, Greg, and two granddaughters. His wife, LoRene, died in 1978. He is buried at Elmwood Cemetery, Hartshorne, Oklahoma.

Spahn is widely regarded as one of the greatest pitchers of all time and the best left-hander ever. He is admired for his longevity, his consistency, and his competitiveness. He is remembered for his quote, “A pitcher needs two pitches, one they’re looking for and one to cross them up.” He is also honored by the Braves, who retired his number 21 and inducted him into their Hall of Fame and Walk of Fame.

Warren Spahn, the greatest left-handed pitcher of all time, died of natural causes, but his legacy lives on in the hearts and minds of baseball fans everywhere. He was a true legend of the game and a hero of his generation.

Doms Desk

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