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Friday, September 10, 2021

Tookie Spann used his baseball skills to see six pro seasons, made AA

Upon his passing in 2016 at the age of 48, Tookie Spann's old assistant coach at Tulane University offered praise for the former hitter to The New Orleans Advocate.

"He had special skills as a baseball player," the assistant coach Joe Scheurmann told The Advocate. "He was from the same era as Joey Bell at LSU, and pound-for-pound he was every bit as good as Joey Bell was."

Spann went on from Tulane to play six seasons as a pro. He topped out at AA.

Spann's career began in 1988, taken by the Tigers in the third round of the draft out of Tulane. Spann was also credited by his given name, Emmanuel Spann Jr.

At Tulane, Spann played both football and baseball. In May 1986, a late Spann error as he mishandled a grounder helped leave Tulane out of the College World Series, according to wire services.

"I just looked up too soon," Spann told reporters afterward. "It happens. I have no excuses."

Spann started with the Tigers at rookie Bristol. He hit .267 over 61 games, with nine home runs.

He moved to single-A Lakeland for 1989 and saw 27 games at AA London. He hit .204, with two home runs at London.

Spann returned to Lakeland for an abbreviated 1990, then moved to the Padres system and single-A Waterloo and Charleston. He hit .256 between them.

He played 1992 at high-A High Desert and hit .265, with 19 home runs and 103 RBI. He spoke to the San Bernardino County Sun that May about playing at High Desert - and his nickname. His family borrowed it from fellow New Orleans native and former major leaguer Tookie Gilbert, first for Spann's father then Spann.

He then saw AA Wichita to start 1993. He then briefly  played with the Reds at AA Chattanooga to end his career.

Spann eventually returned to New Orleans. The Advocate noted upon his death in 2016 that his life had taken "a tremendous downturn" as he was charged and tried for rape in 2011, but found not guilty by reason of insanity.

1990 Minor League Tally 
Players/Coaches Featured:3,735
Made the Majors:1,265-33.9%
Never Made Majors:2,470-66.1%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors:523
10+ Seasons in the Minors:309

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