Neyer: Warren Spahn’s finishing kick

From SABR member Rob Neyer at The National Pastime Museum on September 3, 2013:

In 1961, Milwaukee Braves left-hander Warren Spahn threw a no-hitter. In those days, a no-hitter was more newsworthy than today. This one, though, was doubly newsworthy because the future Hall-of-Famer was 40 years old.

Two years later, Spahn was still pitching for the Braves, and on July 2, 1963, he and San Francisco Giants ace Juan Marichal — another future Hall of Famer — locked up in the most famous pitching duel of the decade. In the bottom of the 16th, the Giants finally broke a scoreless tie when Willie Mays hit a home run. Both Spahn and Marichal had gone the distance; Marichal threw 227 pitches, Spahn 201. The ancient southpaw had allowed nine hits, and just one walk.

Early in his career, Spahn threw real hard and led the National League in strikeouts for four straight seasons beginning in 1949. By the ’60s, Spahn could still reach back for something extra on his fastball, but by all accounts he had become a different sort of pitcher.

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Originally published: September 3, 2013. Last Updated: September 3, 2013.