Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Remembering Jackie Jensen

For those of us old enough and lucky enough to have seen Jackie Jensen play for the Red Sox, it's one of the few good memories of an era when not much went right for the Carmine Hose. Jensen—who broke into the big leagues as a Yankee—came to the Red Sox in a "Heathcliff Slocumb-like" deal in 1953. Jackie was shipped to Fenway from the Washington Senators for two immortals—Mickey McDermott and Tom Umphlett. McDemott had a decent .500 pitching career and Umphlett retired at age 25.

Jackie Jensen patrolled right field in Boston for seven years—hitting .282 with a .374 OPB. He was an All-Star twice and launched 170 home runs for the Sox. In 1958 he hit 35 home runs and knocked in 122—he was the American League MVP. Not a bad trade. Jackie died far too soon at age 55 in 1982. Had he lived, he would have been 84 years old today. We will always remember him as the dynamic right-handed counter-punch to Ted Williams on otherwise dismal Red Sox teams.