Great Braves Through The Ages: Johnny Sain

In Dan's latest "Great Braves Through The Ages", he takes a look at the phenomenal career of Braves pitching great Johnny Sain.

One of the most interesting times in baseball was the World War Two era. Many players left behind baseball and thier families to serve thier country in a time of need. It is hard to imagine what kind of careers some of these players would have had if they had not missed two or three seasons out of thier careers. In this weeks Great Braves through the ages we take a look at one of those players. This week we meet a crafty righthand pitcher for the Boston Braves named Johnny Sain.

Sain started his big league career with the Braves in 1942 at the age of 24. He pitched in 40 ballgames that year but was mostly used in relief having only started three games. In 97 innings of work he went 4-7 with 6 saves, 68 k's and a 3.90 era.

>From 1943 to 1945 Johnny missed 3 complete seasons while serving in the military during world war two.

In 1946 Sain returned to the Braves with immediate success. His 20 wins and 2.21 era were both second in the league, while his 129 strikeouts, 3 shutouts and 265 innings pitched were all third best. He also led the league in complete games with 24. Johnny ended the season fifth in the National league mvp voting.

1947 was another great year for Johnny. His 21 wins and 22 complete games were both the second best in the league while his 132 strikouts and 3 shoutouts were both third among NL starters. Sain was elected to his first of three career all star games.

In 1948 Johnny had the best year of his career and helped the Braves win thier first NL pennant in thrity four seasons. His 24 wins, 324 2/3 innings and 28 complete games all led the league. His 2.60 era was third in the league while his 4 shoutouts came in second. Johnny also led the National league in sacrifice hits with 16. He was selected to his second all star game and it would be his last as a National leaguer.

In the 1948 World series against the Cleveland Indians Sain pitched great. In the first game of the series he beat Bob Feller in a pitchers duel 1-0. In 2 starts Johnny pitched 17 innings striking out 9 and allowing only 2 earned runs. He finished the series with one win and one loss as the Indians defeated the Braves 4 games to 2.

1949 was a tough year for Johnny. He ended the season 10-17 with a 4.81 era. Sain led the league in earned runs allowed with 130 but did manage to pitch 243 innings and throw 16 complete games which were both the sixth best in the league.

Johnny returned to form in 1950. His 20 wins and 25 complete games were both second best in the National league while his 278 and 1/3 innings pitched was the fourth best.

Sain began the 1951 season with the Braves but struggled. In 22 starts he was 5 and 13 with a 4.21 era. On August 28th the Braves traded Johnny to the New York Yankees for $50,000.00 and a young pitcher named Lew Burdette. A trade that would haunt the Yankees in the 1957 World series.

Johnny went on to win 11 games for the Yankees in 1952 and 14 in 1953. He would also lead the league in saves in 1954 with 22. He was elected to his third and final all star game of his career in 1953. Johnny stayed with the Yankees until midway through the 1955 season when he finished his career with the Kansas City A's.

Johnny went on to be an a instructor and pitching coach with the Braves, Yankees, Tigers, Twins, Angels, White Sox, and A's.

Johnny Sain Career Braves Pitching Stats
Games: 257
Innings: 1,624
Wins: 104
Losses: 91
Saves: 11
K's:    698
Complete games: 121
Shutouts: 15
ERA: 3.49

Johnny Sain Career Pitching Stats
Games: 412
Innings: 2,125 and 2/3
Wins: 139
Losses: 116
Saves: 51
K's: 910
Complete games: 140
Shotouts: 16
ERA: 3.49

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