Tuesday, November 7, 2006
Sain, with Spahn, formed memorable pitching tandem
DOWNERS GROVE, Ill. -- Johnny Sain, a three-time All-Star
who teamed with Warren Spahn to make up one of baseball's most
fabled pitching tandems, died Tuesday. He was 89.
Sain's best year was 1948, when he and Spahn led the Boston
Braves to the World Series, where they lost to Cleveland. It was
during that season when the famous saying was born: "Spahn and
Sain and pray for rain."
The Boston Post ran a poem by sports editor Gerald Hern that led
to the catchy phrase about the Braves' two dominant pitchers -- and
the rest of their unheralded rotation.
"First we'll use Spahn, then we'll use Sain, Then an off day,
followed by rain. Back will come Spahn, followed by Sain, And
followed, we hope, by two days of rain," it read.
Sain was 139-116 with a 3.49 ERA in 11 seasons in the 1940s and
1950s, mostly with the Braves and New York Yankees. He won three
straight World Series titles with the Yankees from 1951-53.
The right-hander made his major league debut in 1942, then spent
from 1943-45 in the military during World War II. He returned to
the big leagues in 1946.
Sain had a stroke in 2002 and had been in poor health. The
Knollcrest Funeral Home in Lombard, Ill., said it was handling the arrangements.
The Chicago Tribune reported Sain's death earlier on its Web site.
Sain was a four-time 20-game winner and later became a top reliever, leading the AL with 22 saves in 1954.
Sain topped the majors with 24 victories and 28 complete games
in 1948. He beat Hall of Famer Bob Feller and the Indians 1-0 in
Game 1 of the World Series that season.
Later, Sain became a popular pitching coach with the Yankees,
Chicago White Sox, Minnesota, Detroit and Atlanta.