Friday, August 16, 2013

Alumni Food-Issue Friday: 1963 Pepsi-Cola Colt .45s Al Spangler

Distributed the year after their maiden voyage through the major leagues, the 1963 Pepsi-Cola Colt .45s set was a regional set issued in Texas in bottled six-packs of the soft drink. The cards were issued as panels with both top and bottom tabs. The card backs featured player stats for the 1962 season, along with their career stat lines and career highlights. The bottom tab backs feature the team's 1963 season schedule.

Spangler, whom the Colt .45s drafted with the 8th pick in the 1961 expansion draft, was arguably the best player on an otherwise horrible expansion team. Before joining the future Astros, Al was a highly-regarded prospect in the Braves organization. 

Signed out of Duke University in June of 1954, Al's contract actually had a clause which stipulated that he be assigned to the big league club for two years. He quickly realized, however, that there would be no opportunity for him to gain professional experience on a team which was in the middle of a very successful run. Thus, Spangler requested, and was granted, a re-assignment to the minor leagues. 

After two successful minor league campaigns, Al was in good shape to begin the 1956 season with the Braves. Instead of breaking camp with them, he was summoned to military service. 

Al finally made it to the majors in September of 1959, going 5-for-12 in limited at-bats for the Braves. The next two seasons would be spent in Milwaukee, as well, where Spangler would receive 122 and 125 plate appearances in each respective season. In his two-plus seasons with the Braves, Al recorded an on-base percentage of .398, along with a .336 slugging percentage.

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