Spider Jorgensen

John Donald Jorgensen (November 3, 1919 – November 6, 2003) was a third baseman in Major League Baseball who played from 1947 through 1951 for the Brooklyn Dodgers (1947–50) and New York Giants (1950–51). Jorgensen batted left-handed and threw right-handed. He was born in Folsom, California.

Jorgensen graduated from Folsom High School in 1936 and attended Sacramento City College from 1937 to 1938. In the 1950s, he played in the Pacific Coast League for the Oakland Oaks. He debuted with the Brooklyn Dodgers on April 15, 1947, the same day that teammate Jackie Robinson broke the professional baseball color line.

In parts of five seasons, Jorgensen was a .266 hitter with nine home runs and 107 RBI in 267 games played. His most productive season came in 1947, when he posted career-highs in batting average (.274), hits (121), at-bats (441), home runs (5), doubles (29), triples (8), runs (57), RBI (67) and games (121). He damaged his throwing arm by hunting that winter, injured it further in spring training, and his career declined. He appeared in the World Series in 1947 and 1949 and hit a combined .194 in 31 at-bats with three RBI. He was traded to the New York Giants during the 1950 midseason and made his last major appearance on June 30, 1951.

Following his playing career, Jorgensen coached the Fair Oaks American Legion team that won the North Division championship in 1967. Dusty Baker had been a member of that team. After that, Jorgensen worked as a scout for the Chicago Cubs for more than two decades.

In 1996, Jorgensen was in the first class of inductees into the Sacramento City College Athletic Hall of Fame.

Jorgensen died in Rancho Cucamonga, California, just three days after his 84th birthday.

In the film 42, Jorgensen was portrayed by actor Jamie Ruehling.

By Dean Hanley

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