06/14/2003 1:07 AM ET
Torre caught Spahn's 300th win
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By Tom Singer / MLB.com
NEW YORK -- Joe Torre was awash in a lot of emotions Friday night.
But nostalgia wasn't one of them.
Watching Roger Clemens finally become the 21st man to claim 300 wins in Yankee Stadium didn't take the erstwhile catcher back to that night 42 years ago, when he was behind the plate when Warren Spahn became the 13th to 300.
"I was just a 20-year-old kid then, a rookie. It was all new to me," Torre recalled of that Aug. 11, 1961, game in Milwaukee's County Stadium.
"I remember nothing about the day leading up to the game. I don't remember much about the game itself, either."
Spahn defeated the Chicago Cubs, 2-1. He was on his way to 363 wins, which still leaves him as the winingest left-hander in Major League history.
For sure, Torre can't recall any anticipation for Spahn's milestone to compare with the expectations that have followed Clemens around for weeks.
"It was just a game then," Torre said of your grandfather's baseball. "Now, it's an event."
Torre might not even recall scoring the first run of that game -- on a sacrifice fly by Spahn himself. Torre had reached second when left-fielder Billy Williams dropped his line drive for an error, and moved to third on a single by Roy McMillan before scoring on the pitcher's fly.
Without the benefit of the perspective of history, this is how little catching a 300-game winner meant to that Torre kid: As the celebration wound down, Spahn autographed Torre's catcher's mitt. Torre said "Thank you" and sent the mitt home.
He still has no idea whatever happened to it.
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to approval by Major League Baseball or its clubs.