Some elite players have been recognized and admired throughout their careers. Others, like former St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Brian Jordan, have to scratch and scratch to receive such treatment. His injuries, the team’s mediocrity, and his low interest in sabermetrics at the time prevented Jordan from receiving praise from other players of the era.
A first-round pick by the Cardinals in 1988, Jordan had his first success in football, not the diamond. From his 1989 to 1991 he was a safe for the Atlanta Falcons in the NFL and was voted to the 1991 Pro Bowl as a substitute. In 1992, the Cardinals kept him out of football with his $1.7 million signing bonus.
Jordan’s brief soccer career was perhaps the first obstacle to his baseball production. I was still quite immature.
In 1993, now fully devoted to baseball, Jordan broke out. He increased his slugging percentage from .373 to .543 and hit 10 long balls. 1994 was a step back in the power department, but he made up for it by developing into a strong defender and continued to improve throughout his tenure with the Cardinals.
Jordan started in right field for the Cardinals in 1995 and seized his chance by batting .296 with 22 home runs. 310 and .422 in his National League MVP voting, setting a Cardinals record until Allen Craig broke the record in 2013, placing him eighth in his National League MVP voting. ended up. , leading all majors in right field players in his league in range factor and all outfield players in total zone runs.
Injuries began plaguing Jordan in 1997 and flared up later in his career due to his all-out style of play in the outfield. 234 batting average and failed to hit a home run in 161 at-bats during a season interrupted by his two stints on the disabled list.
Jordan’s best year was 1998. He hit his 25 home runs and had a career-high . 316 batting average. Unfortunately for Jordan, his work was overlooked in favor of the work of Chicago Cubs’ Sammy Sosa and his teammate Mark McGuire, who were in contention for his season’s home run record. . Jordan’s career season was thus relegated to a footnote.
However, the Atlanta Braves took notice of Jordan’s stats and signed him to a lucrative $21.3 million deal in 1999. 283 batting average on 23 long balls. Jordan was 32 years old at this point, but he still had some productive seasons left. In 2001, Jordan batted .295, his best slugging percentage since 1998.
Jordan was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers in January 2002, which would be the last fully healthy season of his career. Four years of injury followed, and Jordan retired after the 2006 season when he returned to the Braves.
Jordan was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2012, but after failing to vote, he was inducted into the Hall of Fame. Given Jordan’s background, the Hall of Fame plaque might be a bit lame, but there are a few circumstances that keep him from getting the recognition he deserves.
Jordan didn’t become a regular Cardinals outfielder until he was 28. During his period as an everyday player from 1995 to his 1998, the team amassed a record of an unremarkable 306 to 323, making the postseason only once for him. 1996 NLCS. It’s no secret that strong players on winning teams get more attention than equally skilled players on inferior teams.
Jordan finished 15th in total zone runs with 163, one zone behind gold grabber Ivan Rodriguez with 13. Sabermetric data wasn’t added to his Gold Glove voting until 2013, so awards were distributed primarily by eye test and the player’s existing popularity. Had Jordan played for a more successful team, such as when he made a National League All-Star appearance with the champion Braves in 1999, he would have been more considered for the award.
Jordan’s frequent injuries — playing in fewer than 100 games in eight of 15 seasons — have dwindled his relatively late-blooming status and career years compared to Maguire’s season and the aforementioned mediocre Cardinals team. Given that, it’s not surprising that he isn’t. Notable as several similar players of his time. Cardinals fans would have appreciated him more if fortune had smiled a little more on Jordan.