Spider Jorgensen: Short Time 1951 N.L. Champion NY Giant (1950-1951)

John Donald Jorgensen was born on November 3, 1919, in Folsom, California. John became known as Spider Jorgensen.

He would play minor league ball in 1941 before going off to serve in World War II. He returned to baseball in 1946 in the Brooklyn Dodgers organization as a left-handed hitting third baseman who threw right-handed.

MLB Career & Debuting the Same Day Jackie Robinson Did: Spider made the Brooklyn Dodgers team in 1947 debuting on the same day Jackie Robinson did. 

Years later, Jorgenson said at the time he didn't remember there being a lot of hoopla around Robinson's debut by the Brooklyn papers. 

As for Jorgensen he was more surprised at being named the Dodgers Opening Day third baseman than seeing Robinson across the diamond. In fact, he said he used Robinson's glove on that historic day, since his equipment was still up at AAA Montreal. Robinson played at first base & used a first baseman's glove. Spider went hitless that day but drove in a run as he walked in Brooklyn's 5-3 win.

In 1947 Jorgenson hit .274 with 29 doubles, 8 triples (6th in the league) 5 HRs & 67 RBIs playing in 129 games posting a .360 on base percentage. He made 19 errors at third base but still had the league’s 4th best fielding percentage (.949). 

1947 World Series: In the World Series he played in all seven games, he batted .200 with three RBIs. 

In Game #In Game #3 at Ebbets Field, he had two hits & singled in a run in the 3rd inning, as Brooklyn went on to a 9-8 win.

In Game #7 he hit a 2nd inning ground rule double off Bill Bevans giving Brooklyn a 2-0 lead. They would lose the game 5-2 to the A.L. Mew York team. 

In the off season he injured his throwing arm while hunting. To make matters worse, he then damaged it further in Spring Training of 1948. This led to him eventually losing his starting job to Billy Cox. Jorgensen hit .300 in 90 at bats that season. 

1949 World Series: He would appear in four games of the 1949 World Series, hitting two doubles, going 2-11. The first was in the 1-0 Game #1 loss, the second in the Game #2 1-0 Dodger win.

In 1950 his contract was purchased by the New York Giants, that year he would bat only .135 in 24 games.

He spent 28 games on the 1951 Giants N.L. Pennant team hitting .235 with two HRs. He played 11 games in the outfield & 11 games at third base as well as one at third base.

On July 1st he was sent down to the Pacific Coast League where he would spend five good seasons before finishing his playing career at Vancouver in 1960.

Retirement: After his playing career he managed at the minor league level in the 1960's. He then moved on to scouting well into his eighties. 

Passing: Jorgensen passed away in November of 2003 at age 84 in Rancho Cucamonga, California.


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