Mar 6, 2009

Phillies Pholklore: Ricky Jordan

(Image from ebay)
Phillies Pholklore (notice the clever use of the Ph in place of the F, it's like it's never happened before.... ever) will recount fond (and not so fond) memories I have had of players or events from Phillies' teams past.

Paul Scott "Ricky" Jordan is one of the first ballplayes I tried to emulate in Little League. I copied his batting stance when I was 8 years old and copied the pre-stance underhanded swing motion that he did before each pitch. My dad definitely did not like that and altered my swing. I felt like Willie Mays Hayes when he would say to me, "With your speed and tiny size, you should be hitting balls on the ground." I eventually developed into a decent line drive hitter.

All that aside, Ricky Jordan burst onto the baseball scene in 1988 with a home run in his first official major-league at-bat. With the team languishing in last (6th!) place in the NL East practically the entire season, it was exciting for my young mind to have someone to root for. I mean, I was excited when they were within 5 games of the 5th place Cardinals. He hit over .300 (actually .308) for his half season of work with good power (11 HR and .491 SLG) and a slick glove.

He was an above average player in 1989, but the power potential did not develop as hoped, only hitting 12 home runs for the full season with a drop in BA and .OBP from the previous year. On May 6, 1990, on the Phanatic's birthday, he hit the first grand slam I ever saw in person. It was very exciting. It's still the only one I've ever seen by a Phillie in person. My mother couldn't go that day for some reason, so a friend came instead to take the 5th of my family's 5 tickets. She still is upset because she's always wanted to see a grand slam, but STILL never has. She more than made up for it in my eyes by witnessing Kevin Millwood's no-hitter in 2003.

With the arrival of John Kruk, he became a contributing part-time player and pinch hitter through 1994. He led the team in pinch-hits in 1993 as the Phillies won the NL pennant, and he started the first two games in Toronto during the World Series as the DH. Shoulder injuries soon made him retire in 1996.

He finished with a line of .281 BA/.308 OBP/.424 SLG with 55 HR and 301 RBI for his career. He was a memorable player during the impressionable times of my life.

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