Defensive stalwart Spencer won two Gold Gloves and might have been entitled to be named in several other years. He lacked the bat consistency that could have ranked him among the top first basemen, but he had good home run power, twice slugging 18 in a season and getting 23 in only 295 at-bats for the Yankees in 1979. Two years earlier with the White Sox, on May 14 and again on July 2, he drove home eight runs with two homers in a single game.
Spencer moved eastward through most of his career, starting in California, moving to Texas, then on to Illinois and New York, before a final return to California. His time with the Yankees was a homecoming of sorts: He’d first caught the attention of scouts by slugging a home run as a high schooler in the annual Hearst sandlot game held at Yankee Stadium.
Jim’s grandfather, Ben Spencer, played eight games for the 1913 Senators.