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Why Legendary MLB Ace Pitcher Warren Spahn Was Blackballed From Managing

The baseball Hall-of-Famer wanted to manage when his playing days were over, but big league teams didn’t want him

Andrew Martin
4 min readNov 25, 2023

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Left-handed pitcher Warren Spahn was a model of consistency and success during a lengthy big league baseball career. A veritable ace for nearly two decades, he remains in the conversation as one of the best hurlers of all time. Unfortunately, his success didn’t always translate into the respect he was due, including his inability to land a major league managing job once his playing days were over.

Over the course of his amazing career, which spanned from 1942; 1946- 1965 (He missed three full seasons due to military service), Spahn amassed an impressive collection of statistics and accomplishments. He was a 17-time All-Star and won the Cy Young Award in 1957, the year the award was first introduced. His devastating fastball was complemented by a sweeping curveball and a crafty changeup, which all helped make him an intimidating force on the mound.

His greatest success came with the Boston/Milwaukee Braves. During his time with them, he reached the milestone of 300 career victories, finishing with an incredible career total of 363 wins, the most by a left-handed pitcher in MLB history, and still the sixth-most of all time. Known for his longevity and durability, he led the league in complete games nine times, and won 20 or more games 13 times during his career. He even pitched a no-hitter in 1960 at the age of 39. After 21 years in the big leagues, he finished with a career mark of 363–229 with a 3.09 ERA, 382 complete games, and 63 shutouts. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1973.

With his resume, one might think he was greatly respected. To the contrary, he was desirous of landing a big league managing job once his playing days were over, but found himself on the outside looking in, simply because of the position he played. He explained his predicament in a November 5, 1975 article that appeared in the Palladium-Item:

“How can they disqualify a man as a major league manager simply on the grounds he was a pitcher? I think it’s perfectly ridiculous. What about Freddie Hutchison? Did being a pitcher…

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Andrew Martin

Dabbler in history, investing & writing. Master’s degree in baseball history. Passionate about history, diversity, culture, sports, investing and crypto.