Friday, February 19, 2010

1967 Topps Larry Jansen San Francisco Giants

Today's entry is the first team card that I added to my collection of autographed 1967 Topps baseball cards. It is the San Francisco Giants Team card, #516 and it is signed by their pitching coach, Larry Jansen.

This autograph was obtained with a through the mail request that was sent to Larry Jansen's home in Oregon on September 21, 2009 and he quickly returned the card autographed 7 days later. This was one of Mr. Jansen's last autographs, he passed away on October 10, 2009 at age 89. I feel very fortunate to have this card in my collection. Thank you Mr. Jansen.

Larry Jansen's career lasted 10 seasons from 1947 to 1956. He pitched for the New York Giants and Cincinnati Reds. Larry's career statistics included 122 wins, a career 3.58 earned run average and 842 strikeouts. Larry Jansen participated in two All-Star games in 1950 and 1951. As a rookie in 1947, Larry won 21 games versus 5 losses and finished 2nd in the Rookie of the Year to future Hall of Famer Jackie Robinson. In 1951, Larry Jansen won 23 games for the New York Giants and was a vital part in the comeback against the Brooklyn Dodgers. He was the winning pitcher in a playoff game against the Dodgers, the game known as the "Shot heard 'round the world." In that game, Bobby Thompson hit the game winning home run to send the Giants into the World Series.

After Larry Jansen's playing days were over, he remained close to the game by coaching and managing teams in the minors before becoming the  San Francisco Giants' pitching coach in 1961. Larry Jansen was vital in the development of two future Hall of Famers, Juan Marichal and Gaylord Perry. He was elected to the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame in 1980.

As interesting facts, Larry Jansen allowed Mickey Mantle's first World Series hit -- a bunt single in Game 2 of the 1951 Series -- and gave up a double to Joe DiMaggio in the eighth inning of Game 6, the final at-bat of the Hall of Famer's career.
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