Friday, February 10, 2012

#107 Mike Jorgensen - New York Mets

Card:  You’re looking at Jorgensen’s 14th Topps card. 
I dislike cards that are "diamond cut / offcenter" with a passion but my scanner took a dump and I'm using the one off of the Topps website.
Pic:  Not sure if Jorgensen just K'd or maybe he drew a walk on a pitch and is coming out of a crouch.  In the inset it looks like Jorgensen just spotted someone parking in his spring training parking spot.
Player:  Mike Jorgensen’s major league career started with his hometown Mets in September of 1968.  He was drafted in the 4th round of the 1966 draft and was only 20 years old when he made his debut.  Jorgensen had two hits in fourteen at bats in ’68 and missed out on the Mets magical ’69 season, spending the entire year in the minors.  He was the Mets backup first baseman in ‘70/’71 but struggled, hitting a meager .195 and .220.
Before the ’72 season began, the Mets traded Jorgensen, Ken Singleton, and Tim Foli to the Expos for Rusty Staub.  Jorgensen spent the next five years as the Expos left-handed platoon option at first base.  He batted .230 and .231 his first two seasons north of the border, but played good defense and won a Gold Glove in ’73.  He had his best year in ’74, batting .310/.444/.488.  Jorgensen hit 11 homers and walked 70 times in 366 plate appearances with a 156 OPS+.  He had a career high 18 HR and 67 RBI in ’74 to go along with a .261 average.  In addition to his usual first base duties, Jorgensen also played a lot of outfield but he didn’t hit for power or average posting a .254/.349/.344 line.
Early in the ’77 season, the Expos sent Jorgensen to Oakland in exchange for Stan Bahnsen.  Jorgensen batted .242 in 223 combined at bats.  Jorgensen signed with the Rangers in the off-season and backed up first base while in Texas, hitting just .196 and .223.  In ’79 he suffered a serious head injury after he was beaned by Andy Hassler.  The errant pitch caused a blood clot and a seizure which kept him out of action for a month.
After the ’79 season, the Rangers sent Jorgensen back to his original franchise where he would spend the next three and a half years.  Jorgensen batted .255 in a part time role in ’80, and batted .205 and .254 the next two years, mainly as a pinch-hitter.  When the Mets acquired Keith Hernandez in ’83, Jorgensen was sold to Atlanta. 
The Braves also used Jorgensen as a pinch hitter and he batted .250 in ’83 and continued in that role to start the ’84 season.  He was traded with Ken Dayley to the Cardinals for Ken Oberkfell on May 15.  He again batted exactly .250 with very little power in 124 at bats.  He had a very unusual year in ’85.  Jorgensen's average slid below .200 and he drew more walks (31) than hits (22) leading to a funky stat line of .196/.375/.250.   As the Cardinals advanced to the postseason, the 37 year-old veteran went hitless in five postseason at bats and he was on the losing end of his only World Series appearance.  After 17 big league seasons, Jorgensen retired with a career line of .243/.347/.373, with 95 HR in 1633 career games.

Flipside: That three run homer was on 7-2-82 not 6-2-82.  And that game winning double on 7-31...the Mets won 9-4.

Oddball:  Jorgensen played like an All-Star against the Giants.  In 210 career at bats he batted .338/.427/.529 with nine home runs.  Heck, he even stole nine bases against them too.

History:  Jorgensen was an effective platoon player for a few years in the 70's.  He drew a lot of walks to offset his average which usually sat between .230 - .260.  He never hit for much power and as he got older he lost what little pop he had in his bat.  He probably played too long as he performed at replacement level for the last five years of his career. 
After his playing days he managed in the minors for the Cardinals.  Leter he was the interim skipper in St. Louis between Joe Torre and Tony LaRussa.  Jorgensen is still with the team as a scout.


  1. Coincidentially, Jorgensen's 1979 card is featured today at the 1979 Topps blog.