passes away at 89
10/12/09 11:04 PM ET
SAN FRANCISCO -- Larry Jansen, who was synonymous with Giants pitching excellence as a player and coach, died last Saturday at his home in Verboort, Ore. He was 89.
Jansen twice won 20 games while performing for the then-New York Giants from 1947-54 and received the decision in Game 3 of the 1951 National League playoffs against the Brooklyn Dodgers, which Bobby Thomson ended with his legendary home run.
Jansen also served briefly as the Giants' pitching coach in 1954, when they won the World Series, and continuously from 1961-71, after the franchise moved to San Francisco. There, he worked with future Hall of Famers Juan Marichal and Gaylord Perry and 1967 Cy Young Award winner Mike McCormick.
"He was one of my favorites," Perry said Monday night.
"I remember him being a kind individual and his best interests seemed to be your best interests," McCormick said.
Jansen made an immediate impression with a remarkable rookie season in 1947, finishing 21-5 to post an NL-best .808 winning percentage. He averaged more than 17 wins per season over the next three years before leading the league in wins with a 23-11 record in 1951.
During that year's World Series against the New York Yankees, Jansen was deeply involved in history -- or trivia, depending on your point of view. He allowed Mickey Mantle's first World Series hit and threw the final pitch Joe DiMaggio saw as an active player.
The right-hander spent three more years with the Giants before concluding his active career with Cincinnati in 1956. He retired with a 122-89 mark, a 3.58 ERA and 17 shutouts.
Jansen's 33-year coaching career was highlighted by his 11 seasons overseeing San Francisco's staff. His mainstays included Marichal, who won 20 games six times; Perry, who accumulated the first 134 of his 314 career wins as a Giant; and McCormick, who remained the Giants' lone Cy Young recipient until Tim Lincecum captured the award last year.
Under Jansen, San Francisco ranked third or better in ERA six times from 1961-68 and led the NL with a 2.92 ERA in 1967. The 1968 staff amassed 20 shutouts, a San Francisco-era record which this year's team challenged by totaling a Major League-high 18.
Perry credited Jansen with teaching him the hard slider he frequently used. Having attended an offseason banquet in Raleigh, N.C., with Ted Williams, who told him that the slider was the toughest pitch for him to hit, Perry reported to Spring Training in 1964 intent on learning one. Jansen accelerated his education. "He worked with me practically every day," Perry said.
Perry spent parts of his first two Giants seasons in Triple-A, but Jansen didn't let him think like a Minor Leaguer. "I'd come back and he'd say, 'You're going to make it this time. You're going to get your chance. Be ready.' " Perry cemented his status as a big leaguer in 1964 by pitching 10 shutout innings to win the famed 23-inning nightcap of a May 31 doubleheader at Shea Stadium. "I got my chance in that doubleheader in New York and I was ready," Perry said.
McCormick already was a polished Major League pitcher when Jansen began working with him. "He watched when you were getting out of sync and worked on that more than on any particular pitch, at least in my case," McCormick said.
McCormick's Cy Young path was anything but direct. He owned a pedestrian 4-3 record in early June before winning eight consecutive decisions. As he did with Perry, Jansen helped McCormick remain positive. "He was encouraging," said McCormick, who finished 22-10. "That year started kind of funky for me, but he was very supportive."
A funeral mass for Jansen will be celebrated next Monday at 11 a.m. PT at the Visitation Catholic Church, 4285 N.W. Visitation Road in Verboort, with the Fr. Scott Vandehey celebrant. Recitation of the Holy Rosary will precede the mass at 10:30 a.m. Burial rites and interment will follow at the Visitation Cemetery in Verboort. Family and friends are invited to attend a luncheon immediately following the cemetery rites, to be held in the Parish Hall.
The family suggests that remembrances may be contributions to the Visitation School and Church, 4285 N.W. Visitation Road, Forest Grove, Ore., 97116, or to the Hospice and Palliative Care of Washington County, 900 S.E. Oak Street, Suite 202, Hillsboro, Ore., 97123, in Jansen's memory.
Former Giants Pitcher Larry Jansen Passses Away At 89
October 12, 2009
A Funeral Mass will be celebrated on Monday, October 19, 2009 at 11:00 a.m. at the Visitation Catholic Church, 4285 N.W. Visitation Road in Verboort, with the Fr. Scott Vandehey, celebrant. Recitation of the Holy Rosary will precede the Mass at 10:30 a.m. Burial Rites and Interment will follow at the Visitation Cemetery in Verboort. Family and friends are invited to attend a luncheon immediately following the cemetery rites, to be held in the Parish Hall.
Born in Verboort, Oregon, Jansen was a former right-handed pitcher and coach in major league baseball who was a key member of the New York Giants' starting rotation from 1947-53, twice winning more than 20 games. In his rookie major league season in 1947, Jansen won 21 of 26 decisions and led the NL with an .808 winning percentage. Among his other ML achievements, he was the winning pitcher when Bobby Thomson hit his "Shot Heard Around the World, was the pitcher who gave up Mickey Mantle's first World Series hit and threw the last pitch to Joe DiMaggio. Jansen played and coached for 33 years until he retired.
The family suggests that remembrances may be contributions to the Visitation School and Church, 4285 N.W. Visitation Road, Forest Grove, Oregon 97116 or to the Hospice and Palliative Care of Washington County, 900 S.E. Oak Street, Suite 202, Hillsboro, Oregon 97123, in his memory.
Fuiten, Rose & Hoyt Funeral Home in Forest Grove is in charge of the arrangements (503) 357-2161.