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Tubby Spencer

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Edward Russell Spencer

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 5' 10", Weight 215 lb.

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"Spencer was one of the more interesting characters . . . and (was) reportedly riding the rails between 1911 and 1916 . . . " - from the book Baseball Visions of the Roaring Twenties, which has a photo of Spencer from 1924 when he played for the Los Angeles Angels
". . . Spencer fell from grace and . . . dropped out of sight altogether . . . Spencer, while making ready for his comeback, went into the Northern woods and spent time in a lumber camp. He has broken away from his erratic habits . . . " - from The New Orleans Bee, April 8, 1917

Edward "Tubby" Spencer played nine seasons in the majors, in three stints: he was up in 1905-1909, in 1911, and in 1916-1918. A catcher, he had a .225 batting average during the dead-ball era. Except for 11 games in 1911, all his major league appearances were in the American League.

Spencer was born in Oil City, PA, in northwestern Pennsylvania. At age 21, he played part of the 1905 season for the Waco Tigers and part for the St. Louis Browns. Branch Rickey was also a rookie with the Browns that year, and in 1906 Rickey became the regular catcher, getting into a few more games at catcher than Spencer. In 1907 and 1908, Spencer became the regular (even though he had hit .176 in 1906) while Rickey was traded by the Browns before the 1907 season.

After hitting .210 in 1908, Spencer was traded to the Boston Red Sox but hit only .162 for them in 28 games in 1909. That led to spending part of the season in the minors with the St. Paul Saints, for whom he hit .330 in 34 games. He stayed with St. Paul in 1910 and 1911, although he came back to the majors for 11 games with the Philadelphia Phillies in 1911, hitting .156.

Spencer spent some of 1912-1916 in the minors, primarily with teams based in California. He came back for 19 major league games with the Detroit Tigers in 1916 (he was three years older than Ty Cobb), hitting .370. He stuck around for 1917 and 1918 and then played several more seasons in the Pacific Coast League. He also coached Santa Clara University in 1917-1918.

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