Nov 18, 2014

Short Time 1951 N.L. Champion New York Giants Player: Spider Jorgesen (1950-1951)

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

He made the Dodgers team in 1947 making his debut on the same day Jackie Robinson made his. At the time Jorgenson didn't remember there being alot 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 used Robinson's glove on that historic day, since his equipment was still up at AAA Montreal & Robinson played first base. Spider went hitless but drove in a run with a walk 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). In the World Series he went 2-4 with 1 RBI in Game #3, and then drew two walks in Game #4. In Game #7 he went 1-2 driving in one of the two Dodger runs. Overall he hit .200 (4-20) in the Series.

In the off season he injured his throwing arm hunting, & then damaged it even further in Spring Training of 1948. He eventually lost his starting job to Billy Cox, although he hit .300 in 90 at bats that season. He would appear in four games of the 1949 World Series, hitting two doubles, going 2-11. In 1950 his contract was purchased by the New York Giants and he would bat only .135 in 24 games that season.

He spent 28 games on the 1951 Giants N.L. Pennant team hitting .235 with 2 HRs but was sent to the Pacific Coast League on July 1st. He would spend five good seasons there before finishing his playing career at Vancouver in 1960.

Retirement: After his playing career he managed at the minor league level in the sixties then moved on to scouting well into his eighties. He passed away in November of 2003 at age 84 in Rancho Cucamonga, California.

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