Karl Gustave Spongberg
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 2", Weight 208 lb.
- Debut August 1, 1908
- Final Game August 1, 1908
- Born May 21, 1884 in Idaho Falls, ID USA
- Died July 21, 1938 in Los Angeles, CA USA
Karl Spongberg was the first major leaguer from Idaho, coming up a year before Walt Doan. He pitched one game for the Chicago Cubs in 1908, which also happens to have been his sole game in organized baseball. Prior to joining the Cubs, he was pitching for the Ogden Lobsters of the Utah State League, an independent semi-pro league. He received some publicity when he pitched a no-hitter over Salt Lake City on the 4th of July. There was some serendipity in his signing, as teams were receptive to players from low-level leagues from the Far West, following the success of Walter Johnson who had been signed under similar circumstances a year earlier. Spongberg got one chance to show his stuff for the Cubs, who would go on to win the 1908 World Series, and when he failed to impress, he was simply given his unconditional release on August 4th. He was given a chance to pitch in the minor leagues, but decided to return home instead.
In his sole major league appearance, on August 1st, he relieved starter Carl Lundgren and reliever Chick Fraser in the 3rd inning against the Boston Doves after the two had placed the Cubs in an early deep hole. Karl allowed a further 7 runs in 7 innings, on 8 hits, 7 walks and 2 hit batsmen. One of the hits was a homer by Joe Kelley. He was clearly out of his depth on a major league mound, explaining why his career came to a quick end soon after.