As the season wound down and the Angels fell further back, the future beyond '61 was looking quite bright. On August 11 Jack Spring pitched 1 inning of relief in the 8th inning of a 3-2 loss in Cleveland. Spring would be most famous as one of 2 players traded with Lou Brock from the Cubs to the St. Louis Cardinals a few years later.
His given name was Robert, but the fans knew him only as Buck Rodgers. This Top 100 Angel made his debut as a pinch hitter in the 10th inning of a loss at home to the White Sox, a Friday Night Game at old Wrigley Field on September 8. His batterymate for the ages showed up on September 11 in the person of 20-year old Dean Chance, making his first major league start. Chance got the loss in a 5-2 road game at night against the recently-relocated Washington Senators, aka The Minnesota Twins.
September 14 saw the debut of three Angels, two in one inning. Leading Minnesota 3-1 in the first game of a double header, Manager Bill Rigney pinch hit the newly acquired outfielder Chuck Tanner in the top of the 9th inning. Tanner walked and a batter later, Dan Ardell was inserted as a pinch runner for Earl Averill. But it was the 2nd game of that doubleheader that saw a Top TEN All-Time Angel debut. Jim Fregosi started the game at Shortstop, going 0 for 3 against Jim Kaat and making an error in the field as well! Lucky there were not message boards then - the whiners would have called for Jimmy's scalp in an instant!
The final Angel debut of 1961 came right near season's end when Bob Sprout made his one and only major league appearance, a 4 inning start that saw him give up 2 earned runs and not factor in the decision on Wednesday night in front of 1,717 fans. That's how 1961 ended - not with a bang, but with a whimper... except for Bob Cerv and Tex Clevenger, who had been traded to the Yankees on May 8 for Lee Thomas, Johnny James and Ryne Duren. They got rings that October alongside Maris and Mantle.