Jack Eugene Jensen (March 9, 1927 - July 14, 1982), born in San Francisco, California, was a Major League Baseball outfielder and right-handed batter who played for the New York Yankees (1950-52), Washington Senators (1952-53) and Boston Red Sox (1954-59, 1961). He had previously been a collegiate star in both baseball and football.
An All-American halfback as a junior at the University of California (1948), Jensen scored a touchdown in the team's 20-14 loss to Northwestern in the 1949 Rose Bowl. He was also an All-American pitcher, helping California win the inaugural College World Series in 1947, defeating a Yale team featuring future President George Bush in the final.
In 1950 Jensen left college after his junior year to play in the majors with the Yankees as a backup for Joe DiMaggio. He was sent to the Senators during the 1952 season, and was traded to the Red Sox in 1954.
Making the American League All-Star squad three times and winning a Gold Glove at right field, Jensen earned the MVP honors in 1958, when he batted.286, with 35 home runs and a league-leading 116 RBI. He also led the league in RBI in 1955 (116) and 1959 (112); in triples in 1956 (11), and in stolen bases in 1954 (22).
In 1960, Jensen announced his retirement from baseball, primarily because of an intense fear of flying. As teams had increasingly turned to air travel in the 1950s, he had unsuccessfully sought to combat this aversion, aided considerably by Red Sox owner Tom Yawkey, who arranged for therapy treatments. Once baseball expanded to the west coast in 1958, and with further league expansion and constant air travel foreseen, these difficulties became virtually insurmountable. Jensen returned to play in 1961, but frustrated by a sub-par season, he retired again for good.
In his career Jensen batted .279, with 199 home runs, 929 RBI, 810 runs, 1463 hits,259 doubles, 45 triples, 143 stolen bases, and a .369 on base percentage in 1438 games played. He later coached baseball at California and the University of Nevada and was a minor league manager.
Jackie Jensen died in Charlottesville, Virginia at the age of 55. He was selected to the Boston Red Sox Hall of Fame in 2000.
- 3-time All-Star (1952, 1955, 1958)
- MVP (1958)
- Twice top 10 MVP (1955, 1959)
- Gold Glove (1959)
- 3-time led league in RBI (1955, 1958-59)
- Led league in stolen bases (1954)
- Led league in triples (1956)
- 5-time Top 5 in extra-bases hits (1954-55, 1957-59)
- Career statistics at Baseball Reference (http://www.baseball-reference.com/j/jenseja01.shtml)
- Article at Baseball Library (http://www.baseballlibrary.com/baseballlibrary/ballplayers/J/Jensen_Jackie.stm)