Spahn and Sain and Pray For Rain
By: Gerald V. Hern
First we’ll use Spahn
then we’ll use Sain
Then an off day
followed by rain
Back will come Spahn
followed by Sain
by two days of rain.
That poem was written by Boston Post’s Sports editor Gerald Hern in 1948. I found it while doing some research for this post. Part of the fun of making these cards is finding some of what I like to call the hidden gems of baseball history. Some of you who love baseball as much as I do, know who Johnny Sain is, but for the rest of you who have no idea, I’ll try and fill you in.
He was just one of those dominant pitchers of the mid fifties, but thanks to his participation in World War II, the world never really got to see just how good he could have been. He made it to the majors in 1942, then lost three seasons to just military service from 1943-45. He would have been 25-27 during those seasons. As many of you know, that’s when pitchers usually start to peak. Instead his career really started in 1946 when he went 20-14 with a 2.21 ERA with the Boston Braves. He would end up with a career 139 wins over 11 seasons. He even switched to a reliever later in his career and led the league in saves one season as a Yankee. He remained on the Hall of Fame ballot until 1975 but never got more than 34% of the vote.
After his playing career, he became one of the most successful pitching coaches in baseball history. He coached the A’s, Yankees, Twins, Tigers, White Sox and Braves from 1959-1986. He finished with six World Series rings, three as a player and three as a coach. Three All Star appearances and the 1948 The Sporting News NL Player of the Year award. I feel as though if he had those military years back, he would have been a Hall of Fame player.
Card Number: SK-JS
Number of cards in the set: 8
Player’s Wikipedia page: Johnny Sain
Player’s Baseball Reference page: Johnny Sain
Player’s certified autograph:
Player’s Rookie Card: