Friday, June 19, 2009

1976 Topps #117 - Mike Jorgensen

  • Mike Jorgensen was a first baseman and outfielder for several teams from 1968-1985. He started in A-ball as a 17-year-old in 1966 and spent most of the next few seasons in the minors. Mike had 14 at bats in 1968 and was in the minors for the 1969 season. He stayed in the bigs in 1970 but only batted 87 times and had a .195 batting average. Mike spent half a season in Tidewater in 1971. He batted .342 and earned a call back to the Mets. He batted .220 in 118 at bats for the Mets in 1971.
  • On April 5, 1972 Mike was traded to the Montreal Expos along with Ken Singleton and Tim Foli for Rusty Staub. Jorgensen started to play more regularly and began to produce. In 1973 he batted .231 with 13 homers. He batted .230 in 1974 and won a Gold Glove at first base. Mike's best season was probably 1974. Although he only batted 366 times, he hit 11 homers, walked 70 times, and batted .310. Jorgensen had another good year in 1975 -- he batted .261, hit 18 homers, and walked 79 times. Mike slipped in 1976 (.254 with only six homers) and after a slow start in 1977 was dealt to the Oakland A's.
  • Mike batted .246 in 203 at bats for the A's and left as a free agent after the season. He signed with the Texas Rangers and played with them for two seasons. Jorgensen didn't do much with the Rangers (.196 in 1978 and .223 in 1979) and was traded to the Mets after the '79 season. Mike suffered a bad beaning on May 28, 1979 that kept him out of the lineup for a month. He continued to suffer from headaches and after further examination a small blood clot that could have killed him was found.
  • Jorgensen played with the Mets from 1980 to the middle of 1983. By this time he was a part-time 1B/OF and batted around .250 most of the time. The Atlanta Braves purchased Jorgensen from the Mets on June 15, 1983. Mike got very little playing time (mostly pinch-hitting appearances and late-inning defensive stints) and was sent to the St. Louis Cardinals on June 15, 1984 in a trade that netted the Braves Ken Oberkfell. Mike played for the Cards in 1984 and 1985 then retired.
  • Mike managed in the Cardinals farm system from 1986-1989. He served in other capacities and eventually became director of player development. Jorgensen was the interim manager after the Cards fired Joe Torre in mid 1995. The Cardinals were 41-55 under Mike. Tony LaRussa took over as manager in 1996 and Mike went back to his position as director of player development. Here is a book excerpt about Mike (Where Have You Gone? by Rob Rains).

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