Tom Jordan, 11 days < 100, oldest living ex-MLB player (WhSox, Indians, Browns)
(too old to reply)
That Derek
2019-08-27 04:13:27 UTC

Aug 26, 2019, 10:54pm

Tom Jordan, Oldest Living Ex-MLB Player, Dies At 99
Nick Diunte

Tom Jordan, the oldest living Major League Baseball player, died Monday, August 26, 2019, in Roswell, New Mexico due to complications from a heart attack according to author Gaylon White. Jordan was just ten days shy of celebrating his 100th birthday.

“He was an amazing man,” said White, who featured Jordan in his recently released book, Left on Base in the Bush Leagues. “At the time I saw him in June, I would have put money on him making it to 100. … He said the doctor told him he would live to be a hundred.”

The former catcher played in 39 games throughout three major league seasons from 1944-1948 with the Chicago White Sox, Cleveland Indians and St. Louis Browns. He spent 17 years in the minor leagues that included two campaigns where he hit over .400.

Jordan left the minor leagues in 1949 despite being only one season removed from the majors to join his brother on a local semi-pro team in Roswell. Surprisingly, he felt more comfortable playing in the familiar minor league communities than the major league markets.

“Tom wanted to go back to the minors,” White said. “He did not like the big leagues. He did not like big cities; he found them to be rather impersonal. He had a thriving farm in Roswell. He preferred to play for minor league teams close to where he lived.”
David Carson
2019-08-27 12:57:54 UTC
“Tom wanted to go back to the minors,” White said. “He did not like the big leagues. He did not like big cities; he found them to be rather impersonal. He had a thriving farm in Roswell. He preferred to play for minor league teams close to where he lived.”
It isn't like he had a choice.
Bryan Styble
2019-08-27 18:16:19 UTC
While you're obviously correct, David, in suggesting that Jordan probably wouldn't have been able--notwithstanding two .400 seasons in the minors!--to ever muster a lengthy career in the majors (thus implying that his preference for the small cities that the minors and semi-pro leagues serve was merely rationalization for a lackluster career), I think this analysis may be quite unfair to him.

Never mind that G-d/nature was being unfair to him by denying him his centenary less than a fortnight shy; it seems to me entirely plausible that he truly preferred the smaller cities.

I say this because, after a lifetime of residing almost entirely in major metro areas--St. Louis, Boston, Houston, Los Angeles, Sacramento/Bay Area, Detroit, Chicago, Albuquerque*, Seattle, San Diego, Orlando and now the Tampa Bay Area--I find my very-metropolitan self quite weary of the anonymity, violence, reckless driving and all the other urban ills, wondering if I maybe should just sell my condo and resettle in some small central Florida community beyond the immediate reach of all the thugs and other wretched developments of 21st Century America.

Otherwise I might find my own survive-to-100 quest thwarted by some violent rap-fueled miscreant who wouldn't know James Buchanan from Patrick Buchanan.

* Yeah, I realize it ain't in league with these other listed biggies, but by New Mexican standards, it's Gotham.
Bryan Styble
2019-08-27 21:24:41 UTC
To clarify:

I don't merely suspect the late catcher--by FAR the game's most demanding position, as pointed out by uber baseball maven George Will--Jordan preferred LIVING in small cities, but as well found PLAYING for the small crowds more fulfilling.

If for no other reason than the up-close-and-personal circumstances of AAA, AA and A League parks, in such sharp contrast with MLB's oh-so-necessary sequestering of the players from the fans.

I say this because in my own experience, several of my dozen or so commercial newstalk radio gigs 1989=2013 were in small or medium markets, and the vastly greater professional and creative freedom those stations afforded me in some ways more than made up for lacking the tens of thousands of listeners I was fortunate to play to whilst in talk radio's major leagues in Detroit and Seattle. (That, plus the HUGE factor of avoiding the cancelled-for-one-boneheaded-comment atmosphere at every 50,000-watt outlet, in the industry known as "heritage" stations.)

Oh, and for similar reasons I always coveted the late-night and overnight slots at every station. EVERY other host I worked with or knew over my career told me that was stupid--and if I was on the air because it was the easiest way for me to make six figures, they would have been correct. But to be able do my (always-standing, ever-animated) broadcast schtick with just about no one else in the radio station, and to have FAR more flexibility re spots and other incidentals--as opposed to the drive-time hosts constantly throwing to the traffic copter, news, ski reports, et al.--made those off-hours times-slots seem like gold to me, no matter how many fewer listeners were drawn after dark.

Never mind that, thanks to nighttime-cooled-ionosphere reflection of AM signals, I had 38-states/9-provinces coverage at WJR/Detroit, while [old*] KIRO/Seattle's overnight signal some nights reached northern California, southern Alaska and the Dakotas and Manitoba to the east. Sure, the distant signals were usually pretty scratchy--though my mom often reported a third of the nights my Detroit show at 760 kHz came in loud and clear down for her down in St. Louis, especially on her car radio--but I figured EVERY ONE of those out-of-state listeners was a huge talk radio fan. Thus they were far more gratifying for me to play to than casual listeners, and when they'd phone in--sometimes just to alert me that the signal was reaching that far--it usually was clear they were fellow AM yak addicts. I'm betting the nearly-centenary catcher felt similarly about those watching him play behind the plate.

In a well-worn phrase, Mr. Carson and all, some wisely prefer being a big fish in a small pond.

* Prior to the Mormon Church--ugh--buying the station and moving KIRO to FM while converting its gargantuan 710 kHz signal to--even greater ugh!--sports talk.