With his leg-endary schnoz and his deep-set blue eyes that seem both merry and sad, he looks like a cross between Max Patkin, the clown prince of baseball, and Abe Vigoda, television's Fish.
"Yup," says Warren Spahn, the honorary captain of the National League All-Star Team, "nobody's got a face just like this one."
The man who may have been the greatest pitcher in the history of a pitcher's game sat in the NL dugout Sunday night, shoehorned into a modern double-knit replica of the old Milwaukee Braves uniform, and, unnoticed by the most, bemusedly watched the show.
One by one, old friends or old admirers wandered past to ask a question.
Whatcha doin', Spahnie?
"Minor league pitching instructor for the Angels."
How's the family?
"My wife died three years ago."
What do you think of the strike?
"I haven't been a part of the major league scene for 16 years," says the man who, after winning 367 big league games, has spent those years everywhere from the Mexican League to various parts of the bushes. "So why the hell should anybody care what I think?"
Baseball men have two lives. Spahn calls them the young life and the old life. Rarely do the two bear any resemblance. "Some get their just desserts early, some get them late," said Spahn. "Just so you get 'em sometime."
Around him Sunday night, Spahn saw strange things. Who was managing the AL All-Star Team, and being interviewed on national TV, but Jimmy Frey, who spent 14 years in the minors with never a major-league game? And who was doing the interviewing but major league nonentity Joe Garagiola?
"I always loved to see Garagiola comin' to bat," said Spahn as the announcer approached. "I owned him."
"Yeah," said Garagiola, "it used to embarrass me when you sent your limousine to the hotel for me and the guy would announce, 'Warren Spahn's car is here for Mr. Garagiola.'"
In his first life, Spahn won 20 games 13 times. Nobody whose career was played entirely in lively ball times since 1920 has come within 67 wins of his total.
Now, in his second life, Spahn is exactly the sort of moderately content, but invisible, minor league laborer that men like Frey, or Earl Weaver, were in their youth. Perhaps this has a sort of symmetrical justice about it. But it's tougher when the hard life comes second.
"I get in uniform every day," said Spahn, now 60. "There's a hell of a lot of travel in the minors. I get about five days off a month, and this is one of 'em. . .
"We always play at night, which is good, so I can play golf the next day. I had to have two operations (on knees) so I could walk, but now it's okay."
Spahn slaps his paunch affectionately. "I'm fat," he says matter-of-factly. "Don't get enough work."
The worst time for Spahn came when his wife of 32 years died after a stroke. "She lived a year and five days," says Spahn numbly. "She didn't suffer per se, but there were lots of related problems. It was a tough year. Maybe it was a blessing (when she died).
"It hit me hard. I was drinking too much. I didn't give a damn about anything," said spahn. "Then this job with the Angels came along. Best thing that ever happened to me -- working with young people."
In a way, Spahn is lucky that he played in the era before big bucks; for instance, Marvin Miller took over the players' union the year after Spahn retired. The marvelous southpaw never acquired the high-living tastes that are harder to lose than acquire. The minors suit him as comfortably now as they might have a Weaver or Frey 25 years ago. As long as it's baseball, Spahnie's home.
Spahn isn't a prime candidate for a big-league pitching coach job because he's had a tag for years: strongly opinionated, one of those superstars who could do better than he could teach.
"I hate that word 'superstar,'" says Spahn. "You're just a human being who accomplished something. With young kids, it's a copout. They say, 'You were great, but I can't do it that way.' They just don't want to set goals and then live up to them.
"If I have strong opinions, I don't give a damn. I have the truth of my convictions."
When Spahn speaks on pitching, there's an economy of expression that bespeaks volumes of experience condinsed to a phrase. "Hitting is timing; pitching is destroying timing," he says. "Every hitter has a comfortable zone," says Spahn, holding his hands a yard apart. "You must pitch 'here' or 'here'," continued Spahn, showing a foot-long area at either end of that dangerous yard.
"You have to remember that every good hitter is an egoist. If you can throw the fast ball past them once, they'll make any adjustment to prevent it happening again," grinned Spahn. "That makes the best of them gullible for a changeup. Always remember: the best pitch is the one that looks like a strike, but isn't.
"When you're pitching, you have to watch the hitters more than your own pitches. The hitters tell you a true story. If they hit your fast ball, then it's just not moving enough, no matter what you think or the speed gun says. You have to go to something else."
Spahn sits in the dugout, gazing onto the field. He can't even remember any longer how many All-Star Games he was in. What does he think of today's pitchers? "Couldn't say," he says."I don't watch 'em."
How is that possible? "I can't watch baseball on TV. You can't see it right, not on any camera angle," says Spahn. "You can't tell the ball's true speed or how it's really moving.
"There's a sixth sense you develop," says Spahn. "But it only works from down here on the field."
Whether he is in his young life, or his old one, Warren Spahn will never foresake that sixth sense, nor leave the one place where it works best.