Butch Spagna

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Butch Spagna
Born: (1897-05-15)May 15, 1897
New York, New York, United States
Died: December 11, 1948(1948-12-11) (aged 51)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Career information
Position(s) Guard, Tackle
Height 6 ft 0 in (183 cm)
Weight 215 lb (98 kg)
College Brown, Lehigh
Career history
As player
1919 Phoenix Athletic Club
1920 Union Club of Phoenixville
1920 Buffalo All-Americans
1920 Chicago Tigers
1921 Buffalo All-Americans
1921 Union Quakers of Philadelphia
1922–1925 Frankford Yellow Jackets
1926 Philadelphia Quakers
Career highlights and awards

Joseph "Butch" Spagna (May 15, 1897 – December 11, 1948) was a professional football player during the 1920s.

NFL and AFL experience[edit]

He played in the early National Football League (called the American Professional Football Association until 1922) for the Buffalo All-Americans, Cleveland Tigers and the Frankford Yellow Jackets. He also played in the first American Football League for the Philadelphia Quakers in 1926.

Independent football[edit]

Aside from playing in the NFL, Butch also played for several independent teams. In 1919, he began his professional football career with the Phoenix Athletic Club, who later became the Union Club of Phoenixville in 1920. He would play a non-league game with Phoenixville on Saturdays, then hopped the train for Buffalo and the next day’s game. This arrangement helped the Spagna, and several other Buffalo All-Americans players, earn extra money in between league games. In 1921 he also moonlighted as a player for the Union Quakers of Philadelphia, while still playing for Buffalo. Spagna also claimed that during his college days at Lehigh, he would play for Lehigh on Saturday afternoon, then board a train for Philadelphia. There he would play in a Sunday professional game, assuming the cover-identity of "Joby Riba, Heap Big Indian," which did not require him to speak English.

College football[edit]

Prior to playing pro football, Spagna played at the college level while attending Brown and Lehigh University.