Ricky Jordan

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Paul Scott Jordan

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Biographical Information[edit]


First baseman Ricky Jordan was the 22nd overall pick in the June phase of the 1983 Amateur Draft, having been selected by the Philadelphia Phillies organization out of high school. He was signed by scout Eddie Bockman on June 28 for $82,500. He was sent to the Helena Phillies to get his professional career underway that summer and put up an impressive slash line of .296/.327/.393 for a team that finished dead last in the Pioneer League in all three slash line categories (.233/.317/.339). Jordan did finish 6th in batting average amongst teenagers in the circuit, however, and second on his team behind Dion Lowe.

He followed up his initial campaign with a .292/.337/.416 slash line for the class A Spartanburg Suns of the South Atlantic League. He moved up to the Clearwater Phillies in 1985 and hit .277/.308/.388 against the stiffer competition in the Florida State League; his .277 batting average and .388 slugging percentage both led his team while he was fifth in on base percentage amongst teammates with 300 or more plate appearances. He moved up to AA for the 1986 season and hit .274/.306/.339 against Eastern League pitching for the Reading Phillies. While he was hitting at every level, his defense was nothing about which to write home, with fielding percentages in the mid-to-high .980s and below average-to-below range numbers. He remained in Reading for 1987 and his he put up his best fielding percentage yet - .994 - and an improved slash line of .318/.353/.491. He smacked 28 doubles and drove in 95 runs, both team-leading figures, and his 16 home runs were second on the squad.

Early Success in Philly[edit]

He began 1988 at the AAA level with the Maine Phillies of the International League, but didn't spend the entire season there. He was hitting .308/.319/.444 through 87 games when he got the message that every minor leaguer strives to receive: "You're headed to the big leagues!" He made his big league debut on July 17, 1988 as the starting first baseman and #7 hitter in Veterans Stadium against the Houston Astros. He walked in his first plate appearance in the 2nd inning against Bob Knepper, and in the 4th inning took Knepper deep for his first big league round-tripper in his first official at-bat; it was a three-run shot which scored Chris James and Mike Young. He scored on a Juan Samuel single in the 6th inning after walking again against Knepper, and struck out leading off 7th against future teammate Larry Andersen; his Phillies won 10-4. In his second game on July 19, he hit a 7th inning long ball against Ed Olwine, giving him home runs in his first two games - a feat which wouldn't be replicated until 1997 when Todd Helton did so. He spent the rest of the year as the Phils' regular first baseman and hit .308/.324/.491. He drove in 43 runs in 69 games on the strength of 15 doubles and 11 home runs, and he finished 8th in the Rookie of the Year race. He led the 1988-1989 Puerto Rican League with 14 homers and his 42 RBI tied Lonnie Smith for the lead.

He spent the entire year with the Phillies in 1989 as the starting first baseman. It turned out to be his only season as a regular, however and only one of two seasons in which he'd play 100 or more games. He hit .285/.317/.407 in 144 games. His 22 doubles, 12 home runs and 75 RBI all wound up being career bests, and it was his only season with 200 or more total bases (213). It was also his only season in which he drew 20 or more bases on balls (23). He began 1990 as the regular first baseman once again, but struggled. Through August 12, he was hitting only .233/.273/.347 and had lost his starting job to John Kruk, who had moved to first base from the outfield. Jordan was sent back to AAA and hit .279/.315/.346 in 27 games for the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons. He was recalled at the beginning of September and hit .274/.297/.371 for the month for season totals of .241/.277/.352.

A New Role[edit]

Kruk was on the brink of becoming an All-Star, and while Jordan's batting averages had tended to be on par with Kruk's, he never drew nearly as many walks and produced low on base percentages. Not only that, he suffered from a nasty platoon split where he didn't hit nearly as well against right-handers as he did against southpaws. He started 68 of the 101 games in which he saw action in 1991. He hit .272/.304/.425 for the year in his new role, including going 9-28 (.321) as a pinch hitter. He found himself in a similar role in 1992 - right-handed pinch hitter and occasional starter against southpaws. He hit .304/.313/.417 in 94 games. In 1993, he hit .289/.324/.421 for the year in 90 games. His Phillies reached the World Series, which would be the only post-season in which Jordan would appear. He went 0-1 with a walk in the 1993 NLCS against the Braves, and started the first two games of the Fall Classic as the designated hitter in SkyDome against the eventual champion Blue Jays, who had also won the 1992 World Series. He pinch hit in Game Four, the highest scoring World Series game ever, and went 2-for-10 in the Series.

1994 would be his last year with the Phillies. In 72 games, he slashed .282/.303/.473, but only went 4-23 as a pinch hitter. The Phillies did not retain his services after the strike-shortened season, and he left as a free agent.

Angels, Mariners and Pirates[edit]

As with many free agents following the strike, he didn't sign with anyone until spring training had nearly concluded; he inked a deal with the California Angels on April 26, 1995. He only appeared in 19 games, and that was in the Pacific Coast League with the Vancouver Canadians (.222/.269/.349). He was back with the Angels in spring training in 1996, but was purchased by the Seattle Mariners on March 25, just before spring camp broke. The M's planned to use him in a first base platoon with Paul Sorrento, who had a woeful batting average against left-handers (who Jordan hit well). He played 11 games in April, but hit only .227/.280/.364 for the month with only 1 extra base hit (an April 9 home run in Tiger Stadium off Scott Aldred). Worse yet, he incurred an injury at the beginning of May and had to miss a significant period of time. To make matters even worse, the M's signed free agent Brian R. Hunter on May 4 to replace him in the platoon situation with Sorrento, and Hunter took the job and ran with it. So much so that Jordan was relegated to three pinch hitting appearances when he came back in September. The M's released him after the season on October 9.

1997 was his final professional season, which was at the AA level in the Pittsburgh Pirates system. In 52 games for the Carolina Mudcats, he slashed .314/.343/.495 against Southern League pitching.

Related Sites[edit]

Phillies.com: Catching Up With Ricky Jordan