From SABR member Joe Guzzardi at the Lodi News-Sentinel on May 28:
Warren Spahn, the Hall of Fame pitcher who won more games (363) than any left-hander in baseball history, was much more than one of the sport’s iconic players. Spahn, who enlisted in the United States Army in December 1942, became a World War II hero.
By December 1944, Spahn was sent to Europe with the 1159th Engineer Combat Group. As Spahn recalled it, he served with tough company. In the war years, prisoners were released so that they could be sent into battle.
During World War II, Spahn fought at the Battle of the Bulge and the Ludendorff Bridge battle at Remagen, where his combat group was under constant attack from Nazis desperate to prevent the Allies from entering Germany. Spahn was wounded in the foot by shrapnel while working on the Ludendorff.
When the war ended, Spahn, who won the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star, was one of its most decorated soldiers. Spahn returned to the Boston Braves in 1946 and in 24 appearances posted an 8-5 record and a fine 2.94 ERA. On the rare occasions that Spahn didn’t pitch up to his high standards, he would joke to teammates that at least he knew no one was going to shoot at him.
Read the full article here: http://www.lodinews.com/opinion/columnists/joe_guzzardi/article_fbdcea6f-b906-5291-919b-56bad81ebabf.html
Originally published: May 31, 2011. Last Updated: May 31, 2011.