Glancing Back, and Remembering Al Spangler
Al Spangler owned the first hit in the history of the Houston Colt .45s franchise, and he was the team’s leading hitter in its first two seasons. He went on to complete a 13-year major league career with four different teams.
Spangler was signed by the Milwaukee Braves in 1954. He made his debut with the Braves in 1959, hitting .417 in six games at the end of that season. In 202 at-bats over the next two seasons, Spangler hit .267 with seven doubles and 12 RBIs.
In October of 1961 he was selected by Houston in the premium phase of the expansion draft. He batted .285 in 1962 with five home runs and 35 RBIs. He finished fifth in the National League with nine triples and was tenth in the league in bases on balls with 70.
In 1963, Spangler again led Houston in hitting with a .281 batting average. He batted .245 in 1964 and in 1965 was traded to the California Angels for pitcher Don Lee. Over two seasons, Spangler appeared in 57 games for the Angels and batted .295 with one home run and four RBIs.
Spangler signed with the Chicago Cubs as a free agent in 1967 and finished his career with the Cubs as a backup outfielder and pinch hitter. In five seasons in Chicago, he hit a combined .241 with seven home runs and 55 RBIs. Spangler finished his career with 594 hits and a .262 career batting average.