During a 1942 exhibition game against the Brooklyn Dodgers, Casey Stengel, then manager of the Boston Braves, instructed a rookie pitcher to brush back Dodgers shortstop Pee Wee Reese. When the young pitcher refused, Stengel sent him down to the minors for the remainder of the season.
Stengel, of course, would go on to win nearly 1,905 games as a manager and lead the New York Yankees to seven World Series championships between 1949 and 1958.
But the pitcher Stengel disciplined—a 20-year-old from Oklahoma named Warren Spahn—may have had an even more impressive career.
Spahn spent the rest of the 1942 season pitching for the Class A Hartford Chiefs. He wouldn’t pitch again in the majors until 1946.
Like many professional ballplayers at the time, Spahn was drafted into the Army during World War II. He served for three-and-a-half years, during which time he fought in the Battle of the Bulge (December 1944 and January 1945) and helped capture the Ludendorff Bridge (March 1945). Sp...