Ricky Jordan

I assume he's holding a bat.

Why we like him:  This story is just further proof that all that glitters is definitely not gold.  In 1989, a pretty big portion of the Philadelphia Phillies' future rested in the hands of a young, talented first baseman named Paul Scott Jordan. I have no idea how you get "Ricky" out of that. He was coming off a 1988 season where he made his debut and batted .308 with 11 homers and 43 RBI in 69 games for the Phils while playing a pretty good first base.  His first full season in the bigs, 1989, saw Jordan bat .285 with 12 home runs and drive in 75 runs.  The Phillies seemed to have a very good, greatly talented young first baseman that could serve as an integral part of a budding baseball powerhouse in Philly.

Then 1990 happened.  The league had seeminly figured Ricky out.  His average dropped to .241 as he posted the lowest slugging percentage of his career at .352.  The Phillies began having their doubts whether or not Jordan could be their everyday first baseman, much less a cornerstone of their organization.  Left fielder John Kruk was getting heavier, to put it nicely, and could no longer track down fly balls anymore, so the Phillies decided to move him and his superior left-handed bat to first and give the leaner, more athletic Jordan a try in left field in 1992.  Though it wasn't a complete disaster like many other defensive moves, Ricky Jordan the outfielder didn't really impress either.

Jordan knew he had to find some type of role with the squad, and simply decided to become the best pinch hitter he could  be.  From 1992-1994, Jordan experienced some of his most productive years as a hitter, and did the most he could with what few at-bats he was given.  When the strike of 1994 happened, Ricky Jordan was one of the hottest assets in baseball, a 29-year old trustworthy pinch hitter who could give you innings at first or in left.  Believe it or not, a guy like on the bench that was extremely valuable in the time before steroids made every player in the league a threat to produce offense.

When baseball started again in 1995, Jordan was inexplicably nowhere to be found.  He was granted free agency by the Phillies in late 1994, and signed by the California Angels in the spring of '95, but never played a game for the Angels.  His contract was purchased by the Mariners during Spring Training in 1996, and he went on to play 15 games for the M's, batting a ho-hum .250 with 28 at-bats.  At the end of the '96 season, he was released by Seattle and never played again.  To paraphrase Def Leppard's Joe Elliot, it's better to burn out in 1989 than to fade away as just another bench warmer in the steroid era.

Ladies and gentlemen, Ricky Jordan, Ballplayer.

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