Maddux, Glavine and Smoltz

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Braves Card of the Day: 1953 Bowman Color Warren Spahn #99


For a number of reasons, this is one of my 10 favorite baseball cards. Easy.

  1. The 1953 Bowman Color baseball set is one of the top 3 or 4 sets ever made. By the standards of the time, the photography is amazing. Remarkably, the photography holds up today. It had to be stunning to see these cards coming out of packs, especially when compared with the standard Topps painted over photographs.
  2. This photograph in particular is amazing. It does a phenomenal job of not just capturing the look of Spahn, but also provides just a hint of his personality. There’s a look of total confidence with slight evidence of a smirk betraying his mischievous personality.
  3. It’s the best card of the Braves best pitcher and one of the greatest to ever play the game.


If you’re a fan today and you follow stats at all, you know that a pitcher’s Win/Loss record is a useless stat. Spahn was, by any reasonable measure, every bit as good as ever in 1952. He led the National League in strikeouts. His ERA was 2.98 and his FIP was a career best 2.80. All of his rate stats were right in line with his career norms. Yet, his Win/Loss record was a miserable 14 wins to 19 losses.