When Warren Spahn kicks that right leg up toward the stars tonight at 8 at RFK Stadium, he's going to bring back a few memories to the expected 30,000 fans in the stands, but he says he's really thinking about one thing.
"Last year, I was stiff for about a week. I've got to be more careful," said the former Milwaukee Brave, who won 363 games, the most of any left-hander in major league history.
Hank Aaron, his teammate on the Braves and now in the second Cracker Jack Old Timers Classic, understands how Spahn feels.
"I suffered with aches and pains, and that was just three innings," Aaron said with a broad smile.
"I wasn't too proud of some of my catches either. The first ball hit me on the noggin and the second one I barely got my hand down in time."
Aaron headlines a National League outfield that includes Lou Brock, Monte Irvin, Ralph Kiner, Enos Slaughter and Richie Ashburn.
Batting practice begins at 5:30.
Hall of Famer Irvin, a New York Giants outfielder in the 1950s and now a special assistant to the commissioner of baseball, has been trying to get in better physical condition for the five-inning game, which will be taped and given a first telecast by ESPN at 9 p.m. Sunday.
"I'm trying to lose a few pounds, throw the ball around, but not too much," Irvin said. "I can't do too much because I'll pull a muscle."
The National Leaguers will also count on Ernie Banks, Juan Marichal, Robin Roberts, Don Drysdale and Joe Garagiola to try to even the score against the American League, which won last year, 7-2, in a game highlighted by Luke Appling's leadoff home run off Spahn.
Home Run Appling, as he is now introduced, says he's not in as good shape as last year, when "I had that one time at bat and hit a pop fly home run. I get more respect from the boys now than ever before." Appling, 75, the Hall of Fame shortstop from the Chicago White Sox, is a batting instructor for the Atlanta Braves.
"I got more thrills from that home run than in 21 years with the White Sox. I get more mail, too. I put them in big toilet paper boxes. And, I answer them all. Or, at least I thought I did. I got a letter which said:
" 'Dear Mr. Appling, thank you so much for autographing my picture that I sent. But I haven't gotten it yet. You can stick it where you want it.' "
Tom Gorman, who will be behind the plate as umpire, again offers salient predictions: "I guarantee you, Luke will hit a home run and Spahn will screw up."
Appling's infield mates will include two of the game's greatest third basemen, Hall of Famers George Kell and Brooks Robinson, as well as Phil Rizzuto, Al Rosen and Mickey Vernon. Joe DiMaggio will be in uniform but will not play.
Vernon, a two-time AL batting champion (1946, 1953) as a Washington Senator, said of last year's game, "I wasn't happy with the way I did; I grounded into a double play. But the whole weekend was great."
Hall of Fame pitcher Bob Lemon will manage the 32-man AL team against former Phillies manager Eddie Sawyer and his 30-man NL squad. The Cracker Jack Classic will be broadcast live on WMAL-AM-630, featuring Red Barber and Chuck Thompson. ESPN's announcers will be Jack Brickhouse, who did Cubs and White Sox games for 30 years, and Buddy Blattner, a former second baseman who later was Dizzy Dean's broadcasting partner.