On Aug. 11, 1961, 40,775 Milwaukee fans watched 40-year-old Warren Spahn become the first, and last, pitcher of the modern era to win 300 games as a Brave, defeating the Cubs 2-1. All but 7 of his 363 wins came in a Braves uniform.
Spahn entered that game vs. the Little Bears 11-12 with an ERA near 3.50. He would go on to win 10 of his next 11 starts en route to his 12th season with 20 or more wins. He would top 20 victories 13 times, matching Christy Mathewson’s MLB record. The last came in 1963, the same year the 42-year-old southpaw combined with Juan Marichal in what is widely recognized as the greatest masterpiece ever twirled. The WWII hero’s 201st pitch was hit out of the park by Willie Mays, breaking a scoreless tie in the 16th. Five days later, Spahn shut out the Colt 45s, who at the time were playing outdoors. In Houston. In the middle of July.
But I digress, which is easy to do when discussing Spahn, easily Buffalo’s greatest export. It goes without saying that Spahn went the distance for win Number 300, one of 382 starts he completed over his 21-year career. No surprise, either, that the unassuming lefty drove in the first of 2 runs scored by Milwaukee that night. Spahn hit .194 with 35 homers — an NL record for pitchers, and 1961 was his best at the plate: .223-4-15.