Spencer Patton made his Major League debut in 2014 with the Texas Rangers, but on Wednesday he achieved a feat not seen by a former SIUE Cougar player in quite sometime.
Patton, a 2011 SIUE graduate and relief pitcher, was called up by the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday and on Wednesday he became the first former Cougar to log a MLB at-bat since John “Champ” Summers with the San Diego Padres in 1984.
Unfortunately the South Central High grad from Farina didn't produce a hit in the 7-2 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals. Patton has now pitched in 35.1 innings in 38 games and owns a 2-1 record and a 6.62 ERA with the Rangers and Cubs. He has 39 strikeouts to 16 walks in his short career.
He was drafted in the 24th round of the 2011 MLB Amateur Draft by the Kansas City Royals after producing an outstanding senior season with the Cougars. He went 9-3 with a 2.55 ERA and had 109 strikeouts. Patton received the NCAA Division I Rawlings Gold Glove Award following the season.
His nine wins rank third-most in a season in SIUE history and his 109 strikeouts sit second all-time for a single-season performance.
Who knows how many at-bats the 28-year-old right-handed hurler will get in his career? It's doubtful he catches Summers, a Madison High grad, who racked up 1,371 of them in his 11-year MLB career. Summers was a career .255 hitter with six different MLB teams.
Summers played basketball at SIUE from 1969-71 before playing baseball in the '71 season and posting a .340 batting average and seven homers. He was signed by the Oakland Athletics as a free agent in '71.
Summers passed away on Oct. 11, 2012 in Ocala, Fla. at the age of 66.