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How Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen saved his parents' home, and influenced an island

Kevin Baxter, LA Times


Verney Jansen pauses his Ford F250 pickup in front of a brown stucco house in a neat middle-class neighborhood of two- and three-bedroom cookie-cutter homes.

But there’s a history that sets this particular residence apart. It is where Verney’s baby brother, Kenley, the Dodgers’ all-star closer, recorded the most important save of his career.

The younger Jansen was a former catcher with a big arm and an uncertain future when he made his major league debut in Los Angeles in the middle of the 2010 season. The same night, nearly 3,500 miles away, his family was about to lose the house in which he grew up.

This house. The brown house. The one across from the dusty dirt lot, 74 Kokolishi street.

A stroke had cost his father his construction company and defending a lawsuit related to the business had robbed the family of what little money it had left.

“Some days we didn’t have food on the table,” Verney Jansen says softly. “It was tough, man.”

Kenley wired home the meal money the Dodgers gave him — pocket change to most big leaguers but a lifeline to his family in Curacao. Soon, he began sending his paycheck home.

By the end of the summer Jansen, wearing the No. 74 on his back, had made 25 appearances, struck out 41 batters and given up just two runs. He also recorded four saves — five including his parents’ house.

Read the full story, originally published on October 24, 2017, on the Los Angeles Times website.
Cover picture by Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times