Larry Jansen

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Larry Jansen
Larry Jansen 1953.jpg
Jansen in 1953.
Pitcher
Born: (1920-07-16)July 16, 1920
Verboort, Oregon
Died: October 10, 2009(2009-10-10) (aged 89)
Verboort, Oregon
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
April 17, 1947 for the New York Giants
Last MLB appearance
September 25, 1956 for the Cincinnati Reds
Career statistics
Win–loss record 122–89
Earned run average 3.58
Strikeouts 842
Teams
Career highlights and awards

Lawrence Joseph Jansen (July 16, 1920 – October 10, 2009) was an American right-handed pitcher and coach in Major League Baseball. A native of Oregon, he played minor league baseball in the early 1940s before starting his Major League career in 1947 with the New York Giants. Jansen played nine seasons in the big leagues, and was twice an All-Star, winning 122 games in all. He later coached in the Major Leagues and minor leagues, and is a member of the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame.

Early life[edit]

Lawrence Jansen was born in Verboort, Oregon, on July 16, 1920.[1] He was raised in the community of Verboort located near Forest Grove in Washington County where he graduated from Verboort High School in 1938.[1] While still in school Jansen started his baseball career playing semi-pro ball, but in 1940 was discovered by a scout and started playing for the Salt Lake City Bees, a Class C club at that time.[1] Jansen married the former Eileen Vandehey that year, and they had 10 children.[1] In 1941, he started playing for the San Francisco Seals in the Pacific Coast League, and except for 1942 and 1943 he remained until 1946. World War II canceled those two seasons, during which Jansen returned to the semi-pro level in Oregon where he also worked on the family dairy farm.

MLB career[edit]

Jansen was a key member of the New York Giants' starting rotation from 1947–53, twice winning more than 20 games. He was purchased from the San Francisco Seals of the AAA Pacific Coast League after leading that league in wins (30), earned run average (1.57) and winning percentage (.833) in 1946. In his rookie major league season in 1947, Jansen won 21 of 26 decisions, leading the National League in winning percentage (.808). He finished second in the voting for Rookie of the Year behind the Dodger's Jackie Robinson.[1]

In 1951, he paced the NL champion Giants with 23 victories and helped lead their improbable August and September comeback against the Brooklyn Dodgers. Jansen was the winning pitcher in the famous game on October 3, 1951, featuring the Shot Heard 'Round the World. Jansen, however, lost his only two decisions in the 1951 World Series. Jansen also won 19 games (1950) and 18 games (1948) for the New York club.

As a sign of the low salaries of even accomplished players in the mid twentieth century, Jansen worked in a hardware store in Forest Grove, OR during the off seasons of his best years.

Arm miseries kept Jansen from a major role in the Giants' 1954 world championship; indeed, he spent part of that season inactive, as a coach. His playing career ended after eight appearances with the 1956 Cincinnati Reds. During his nine-year NL career, Jansen won 122 games and lost 89 (.578) with an ERA of 3.58.

After coaching and managing in the Pacific Coast League with Portland and Seattle, Jansen returned to the Giants, now based in San Francisco, as pitching coach in 1961.[1] During his eleven seasons in that capacity, he helped develop future Hall-of-Famers Juan Marichal and Gaylord Perry,[2] and the ballclub made appearances in the 1962 World Series and 1971 National League Championship Series. He then moved on to his final MLB coaching job, handling pitchers for the Chicago Cubs in 197273, working for his old Giants manager, Leo Durocher, and then his former teammate, Whitey Lockman.

Later life and death[edit]

After retiring from baseball, he returned to Oregon where he sold real estate.[1] He was inducted into the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame in 1980.[3] Lawrence Jansen died in his sleep in his hometown of Verboort at the age of 89 on October 10, 2009.[1] The cause of death was congestive heart failure and pneumonia.[2]

In retirement, Larry Jansen (along with his co-author, George Jansen MD and illustrator Karl van Loo), left behind in book form his accumulated wisdom on every aspect of pitching in professional baseball: "The Craft of Pitching" (Masters Press, 1977).

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Fentress, Aaron (October 12, 2009). "Local MLB legend, pitcher Larry Jansen passes away at 89 in his hometown of Verboort". The Oregonian. OregonLive.com. Retrieved October 13, 2009. 
  2. ^ a b Goldstein, Richard. "Larry Jansen, Giants Pitcher, Died at 89," The New York Times, Wednesday, October 14, 2009.
  3. ^ "Baseball". Inductees. Oregon Sports Hall of Fame and Museum. Retrieved 2009-10-16. [dead link]

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Bill Posedel
San Francisco Giants pitching coach
1961–1971
Succeeded by
Don McMahon
Preceded by
Mel Wright
Chicago Cubs pitching coach
1972–1973
Succeeded by
Hank Aguirre