All Time Winningest Lefty Pitcher

By Kavin Caruso

Who is the all time winningest lefty pitcher? Warren Spahn of course, he won 363 wins total in his career. Warren Spahn won 356 as a member of the Boston and Milwaukee Braves. Warren Spahn was the first Braves pitcher to win the Cy Young Award. He won the award in 1957. He was known for his high leg kick when he pitched.

Warren Spahn broke in the major leagues in 1942. He only pitched 4 games that season. He had a clashed with manager Casey Stengel during a game in the preseason. He gave up 15 runs, 10 unearned in 15.1 innings in 1942. Then Warren Spahn fought in WWII and won a Purple Heart. In 1946, Warren Spahn returned to baseball to pitch for the Boston Braves. That season he won 8 games, lost 5 and had 1 save. He pitched part time as a starter in 1946. In 1947, Warren Spahn won 21 games, his first of 13 20 win season. The Boston Braves were a good team, won 86 games in 1947. The following season, the Braves won the NL Pennant and lost to the Cleveland Indians in the World Series. Boston Braves won 91 games and finished ahead of the St. Louis Cardinals by 6.5 games. Warren Spahn only won 15 games that year. His counterpart Johnny Sain won 24 games. That year it was known as "Spahn and Sain and Pray for Rain". Those two pitchers were dominant during the 1948 season.

Warren Spahn won 21 games in 1949. He actually won over 20 games from 1949-1951. In 1952, last season that the Braves were in Boston, Warren Spahn had an "off" year. He only won 14 and loss 19. The Braves weren’t that good after the 1948 Pennant Winning season. The Braves won only 64 and had 89 losses. They were second from last, thanks to the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Braves weren’t filling up the stands at Braves Field in Boston in the early 1950’s. In 1953, the Braves moved from Boston to Milwaukee.

All Time Winningest Lefty Pitcher
Boston Braves pitcher and Hall of Famer Warren Spahn.

In 1953, the first season the Braves played in Milwaukee, the Braves won 92 games. They finished 2nd place behind the Brooklyn Dodgers by 13 games. Warren Spahn was a big part of the Braves winning 92 games. Warren Spahn won 23 games that season. Warren Spahn was in his prime during the 1950’s. In 1954, the Braves got future Hall of Famer Hank Aaron to play center field. That season, the Braves won 89 games, finished 3rd in the National League behind 2nd place Brooklyn Dodgers, and 1st place NY Giants. Warren Spahn won 21 games in 1954. In 1955, Warren Spahn won only 17 games. He had a 2 yr streak of winning 20 or more games. The Braves in 1955 finished in 2nd place behind the Brooklyn Dodgers. The Braves won 85 games that season. They finished 13.5 games back to the Dodgers. Would anyone place a bet on him at Coral sports?

In 1956, the Braves almost won the pennant. Warren Spahn was a big part of it. He won 20 games that season. Braves won 92 games, finished 1 game back behind the Brooklyn Dodgers. Warren Spahn finished 2nd in the ERA department in 1956. He finished behind his pitching mate, Lew Burdette. Warren Spahn had a 2.78 ERA, his pitching mate; Lew Burdette had a 2.70 ERA. The Braves were that good in the pitching department in 1956. They only missed out by 1 game. What might have happen if they had won 1 more game than the Dodgers? Braves were a hot team in the 1950’s.

In 1957, everything went Milwaukee Braves way. The Braves won 95 games, won the NL Pennant for the first time since 1948. It was the first Pennant for Braves while playing in Milwaukee. Warren Spahn won 21 games; he also won his only CY Young Award that year. Back in those days, CY Young Award was awarded to one pitcher in MLB. His teammate Hank Aaron won the NL MVP that season.

The Braves were hot during the summer of 1957. Warren Spahn of course kept winning by striking out 111 batters during the season. His pitching mate, Bob Buhl had 117 strikeouts that season. Warren Spahn didn’t play much in the World Series against the NY Yankees. He missed part of the series due to flu. Lew Burdette, won game 7 of the World Series, was WS MVP. The Braves won their only World Series in Milwaukee, but won the 2nd World Series as a franchise.

In 1958, the Milwaukee Braves won their 2nd straight Pennant. This time they lost to the NY Yankees in the World Series. Warren Spahn did not disappoint during the year. He won 22 games that year. He completed 23 games in 1958. He was a great pitcher during the 1958 season.

In 1959, the Milwaukee Braves tied with the new LA Dodgers in the standings. Braves won 86 games. The Milwaukee Braves played a best of 3 playoff games against the LA Dodgers. Unfortunately for the Braves, they lost all 2 games to the LA Dodgers.

Warren Spahn was still pitching like he never pitched before. He won 21 games in 1959, he led the league with 4 shutouts that year, and he completed 21 games.

In 1960, the Milwaukee Braves finished 2nd behind the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Braves won 88 games that season. Warren Spahn did not disappoint, he won 21 games that year. He pitched his first no hitter that same season. His no hitter came on September 16, 1960. He beat the Philadelphia Phillies in Milwaukee, 4-0. Warren Spahn pitched 4 shut out games that year.

In 1961, the Braves won 83 games. They finished 4th place in the NL. Warren Spahn kept doing what he does best. Winning; he won 25 games in 1961. The Braves didn’t have the bats to win most games that year. Warren Spahn threw his 2nd no hitter of his career on April 28, versus the SF Giants in Milwaukee. Braves won 1-0 that night. He also won his 300th game against the Chicago Cubs on August 11.

In 1962, Warren Spahn won only 18 games. The streak of winning 20 or more games was broken. The Milwaukee Braves won 86 games in 1962, finished in 5th place, behind the 1st place SF Giants. Braves didn’t exactly have a great season. Teams of the 50’s were being traded away during the season. Warren Spahn still pitched pretty well during the year. Warren Spahn completed 22 games during the season, he didn’t get a shut out, but he had 118 strikeouts.

Milwaukee Braves pitcher Warren Spahn
Milwaukee Braves pitcher Warren Spahn.

In 1963, the Milwaukee Braves won 84 games. The Braves finished 6th place behind 1st place LA Dodgers. Warren Spahn at the age of 42 won 23 games in 1963. It would be the last 20 or more games that Warren Spahn would win in a season. He pitched brilliantly during the year. On July 2, 1963, Warren Spahn pitched a pitching duel against the SF Giants pitcher, Juan Marichal. Unfortunately for Warren Spahn and the Milwaukee Braves, the Braves lost 1-0 in 14 innings. Warren Spahn pitched a complete game that night. That’s how good Warren Spahn was in 1963. Braves didn’t win very many games that year.

In 1964, the Milwaukee Braves won 88 games, finished in 5th place behind 1st place St. Louis Cardinals. Warren Spahn played his final season as a Milwaukee Brave. It wasn’t that good; he won 6 games that year. He was 43 yrs old, too old to pitch by 1964. Braves were getting ready to move to Atlanta. Warren Spahn’s season wasn’t what he had hoped for, but everyone knew he was finished. He won his final game as a Brave on July 9, 1964. He beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 11-6, he didn’t pitch that well, but he got the win. After the 1964 season, the Milwaukee Braves decided to trade Warren Spahn to the NY Mets.

In 1965, Warren Spahn pitched for the NY Mets and the SF Giants. He won 7 games that season. He won 4 games and lost 12 while pitching for the NY Mets. Then during the summer of 1965, NY Mets put Warren Spahn on waivers, SF Giants signed him. He won 3 games for the SF Giants. After that season, the Giants cut Warren. His MLB career was over. He won 363 games total in his MLB career. He had a great career and he was elected into the Hall of Fame in 1973.

Warren Spahn was on an episode of "Combat" in 1963 as a German Soldier. He fought in WWII and won a Purple Heart. Warren Spahn was the manager for the Tulsa Oilers from 1967-1971. In 1968, Tulsa Oilers won the Pacific Coast League championship. Warren Spahn was the runner-up three times for the CY Young Award during his great career. Warren Spahn died on November 24, 2003 at the age of 83. He died of natural causes in his home in Broken Arrow, OK.

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