Mike Jorgensen a baseball 'lifer'
First baseman/outfielder played five seasons with the Expos
By IAN MACDONALD, The GazetteMarch 7, 2011 8:07 AM
Mike Jorgensen is a baseball "lifer."
Jorgensen spent 17 years as a player in Major League Baseball, including five full seasons with the Expos, beginning in 1972, after the first baseman/outfielder was acquired in a trade with the New York Mets.
Today, the 62-year-old is still employed at the major-league level as a special assistant to St. Louis Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak.
The trade that brought Jorgensen, a New York native, to Montreal was an interesting one. The Expos, who were still finding their way after joining the majors as an expansion team in 1969, gave up their biggest star, Rusty Staub, receiving three players in exchange who would immediately start as regulars: Jorgensen, outfielder Ken Singleton and shortstop Tim Foli.
''We were starting to develop a good club," Jorgensen recalled about those early days with the Expos at Jarry Park. "(Gary) Carter, (Andre) Dawson, (Larry) Parrish - those guys were joining us and making us a much better team."
After five years with Expos, Jorgensen went on to play for Oakland, Texas, the Mets again, Atlanta and St. Louis before retiring after the 1985 season.
After retiring, Jorgensen was hired the same year as an instructor in the Cardinals' minor-league system. The next year, he was promoted to manager of the St. Petersburg farm team, taking it to the Florida State League championship.
From 1987-89, Jorgensen doubled as director of player development in the minor-league system and manager of the Louisville Redbirds, the Cardinals' Triple-A team. In June 1995, after Joe Torre was fired as the Cardinals' manager, Jorgensen took over while retaining his role as director of player development.
Among the fond memories Jorgensen and his wife, Brenda, have from their days in Montreal was the birth of their daughter, Kristen Leigh, while they were living in Pointe Claire. The Jorgensens now have three married children, Kristen Leigh, Brian and Eric, along with four grandsons, Eric, Jacob, James and Owen.
Jorgensen also became a big Canadiens fan during his days with the Expos and was good friends with Pete Mahovlich.
"I loved going to see them play and went to as many games as I could," he said.
"Watching Canadiens on a regular basis in the '70s kind of spoils you because they were so good," he added. "I've been going to hockey games since, but it just isn't the same. The Canadiens played the game the way it is supposed to be played."
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