by Randy Anderson
April 1, 2020
Jamestown Community Baseball News - 1970
The Boston Red Sox returned to College Stadium in 1970 for their third year as the parent club for the Jamestown Falcons. The Sox sent one of their heroes to oversee the team. Jackie Jensen, a veteran of 12 Major League Baseball seasons with the Yankees, Senators and notably the Red Sox, was in the dugout for his first and only professional managerial position.
Jensen, seen above with Russ Diethrick, was a celebrated All-American at the University of California in both baseball and football. He was such an outstanding running back that he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. He began his career with the Yankees in 1950, but in 1952 was dealt to the Senators for Jamestown native Irv Noren. Jensen’s career in baseball was highlighted by his selection as the Most Valuable Player in the American League in 1958 and appearances in three all-star games. He is the only person to play in a Rose Bowl game, an East-West Shrine game, a World Series game and a MLB all-star game.
As MLB expanded westward in the late 1950s, Jensen’s fear of flying became debilitating and he retired after the 1961 season. Since the New York-Penn League was entirely a “bus” league, Jensen accepted the Jamestown assignment in 1970. Oddly enough, the manager of the Niagara Falls franchise in 1970 was none other than Noren. The two outfielders who had been traded for each other in 1952, now were in opposite dugouts in the 1970 NY-P League.
Jensen was unable to transfer his considerable skills to the players as the Falcons’ record was just 30-40, sixth in the eight-team league. Diethrick and Jamestown Furniture City Baseball hosted the greatest number of promotional events since the Hillman Lyons general manager days of 1954. Jamestown fans liked the “specials.” Attendance nearly doubled from the previous year to 25,000. However, team expenses grew at an even greater rate. At the close of the season, Diethrick and friends had to write larger checks than usual to clear debts. To add insult to injury, Boston officials said they would not be back in 1971 because of the poor condition of the stadium’s facilities. Now what to do?