Monday, November 06, 2006
Spider Jorgensen Dies
Under ordinary circumstances, the debut of a twenty-seven year rookie nicknamed "Spider" making his Major League debut would at the least attract some attention. Spider Jorgensen, however, got to make his debut in almost total anonymity on account of another infielder making his debut that day: Jackie Robinson. Despite winning ninety-six games and finishing just two games away from the pennant the Dodgers remade their infield with Robinson (a natural second baseman) taking over at first base and Jorgensen taking over at third.
Of course, Jackie would be remembered (and rightly so) had he never performed on the field. Instead, Robinson performed admirably both as a man and ballplayer, eventually earning his way into the Hall of Fame. Jorgensen's fate was not so grand, as 1947 was his only year as a regular. He'd see limited time for the Dodgers in '48 and '49, and land with the Giants in 1950 and '51 for just over fifty games. He finished his career with a lifetime 95 OPS+, which certainly isn't awful for a third baseman.
Jorgensen played in the minor leagues in California for many years following the end of his Major League career--he was from the area--and lived there the rest of life. Jorgensen also remained involved in baseball for all of the rest of his life; at the time of his death he was a scout for Dusty Baker and the Cubs in Los Angeles/Los Vegas area.