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Bob Speake

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Robert Charles Speake
(Spook)

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Eighteen-year-old Bob Speake a left-handed first baseman-outfielder was signed as an amateur free agent by the Chicago Cubs on November 8, 1948. He started his initial season with the Sioux Falls Canaries of the class C Northern League and finished up with the Carthage Cubs of the K-O-M League where he led the league with 14 home runs and made the All-Star Team.

Speake was with the Springfield Cubs of the Western Association in 1950, hitting .258 with 12 four-baggers. 1951 found him with the Des Moines Bruins of the class A Western League where he hit .253 with 15 homers. The United States military then requested his time and Bob spent the next two seasons (1952-1953) in the armed forces during the Korean War.

1954 saw Bob back with Des Moines, having a good season, hitting .264 with 20 homers. This earned him a ticket to Wrigley Field and the Chicago Cubs in 1955. He took over for an injured Hank Sauer in May and went on a home run spree with 10 in his first 90 big league at-bats, capping his hot streak with five RBIs in both ends of a Memorial Day doubleheader. But he finished the year with just two more homers and a .218 average and spent 1956 with the Los Angeles Angels of the Pacific Coast League where he hit an even .300 with 25 round-trippers and 111 RBIs, helping power Los Angeles to the PCL pennant.

Speake was back with in Chicago in 1957 and hit 16 homers for the Cubs, but he was traded to the San Francisco Giants for one-time home run hero Bobby Thomson, who had been dealt back to the Polo Grounds from the Milwaukee Braves in 1957. After hitting .211 with 3 homers for the Giants in 1958 and a poor start in 1959, Bob finished out the year and his career with the PCL Phoenix Giants giving him a .223 average with 31 homers for his 4 seasons in the big leagues and a .265 batting average with 106 home runs in his six-year minor league run.

After baseball Speake entered the bowling business in his native Springfield, MO, Three years later he entered the insurance business in Kansas, helping found the American Family Life company and operating it for 31 years until his retirement.

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Baseball Players of the 1950s

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