Baseball fans all across America were glued to their TV sets as they watched the epic Home Run Derby contest between the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Joc Pederson and the Toronto Blue Jays’ Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
The 20-year-old Guerrero outlasted Pederson 40-39 to move into the championship round against Mets rookie Pete Alonso — who would win the $1 million prize at Progressive Field in Cleveland, Ohio.
Major League Baseball had its brightest moment of the season, one which fans will be talking about for years to come. The Cleveland Indians were holding their first All-Star Game since 1997. The only blemish on the game and this season is the snub Major League Baseball, the Indians and the Chicago White Sox are committing against Roswell, New Mexico, and Roswell’s Tom Jordan.
The only thing missing from the Home Run Derby and All-Star pregame festivities and game was Tom Jordan. Tom sat in his recliner at his house watching the game as a fan and not an honoree. Why is that important? Because Tom is the oldest living baseball player.
What makes what happened to Tom go from snub to insult by all parties involved is he played for the Indians in 1946, and the White Sox in 1944 and 1946, before ending his career in 1948 with the St. Louis Browns.
It would be different if those teams didn’t know that Jordan was alive and kicking — but that simply isn’t true. The RDR sports department reached out to all parties to alert them and see if they would honor Tom.
Bart Swain, Indians director of media relations, told RDR sports they could not do anything like fly Jordan to the All-Star Game. Swain also said the Indians would not fly Tom and his family to Cleveland to honor him and throw out the first pitch before one of their home games later this season.
Swain said the Indians could not send him a signed baseball, or give him a hat or jersey with his name on it. The best he could do is that he might be able to get Indians manager Terry Francona to sign a birthday card. And that was a maybe.
The travesty is Tom should have been in Cleveland and showcased for all the festivities leading up to the game, and been given first-class treatment. This was the perfect opportunity to show how Cleveland Indians baseball takes care of their former players, especially the oldest living former Major Leaguer. What did the Indians do? They ignored Tom and let him watch the game from his home. Maybe it’s no coincidence that the last time the Indians won the World Series was in 1948 — Tom’s last year in the majors.
Scott Reifert, Chicago White Sox vice president of communications, has simply ignored RDR sports’ emails and phone calls about honoring Jordan.
Silence is not golden — and not answering and trying to ignore the fact that Tom played for them in ’44 and ’46 will not erase the White Sox record books, with Tom’s name and uniform number and the years played.
Reifert’s avoiding Tom, and the White Sox’ choice not to celebrate Tom’s contributions to the team and MLB will not allow this situation to go away. What’s worse, this is no way to respect the history of the game.
Finally, MLB has no excuse not to be on top of this situation. Tom is the last link to an era that goes back to when he was a kid. Tom can talk about baseball players that many historians can only read about: Babe Ruth, Shoeless Joe Jackson, Ty Cobb, Connie Mack, Jimmie Fox, Cy Young and a host of other greats that can only be watched on newsreels. C’mon, MLB, what are you doing?
Being here for two years, there’s a couple of things I know about Roswell. They love their sports, and they take care of their own. Roswell and Goddard can fight it out on the athletic fields, but as soon as one of their own is in need, no matter which side needs help, everyone pitches in. This town rallies like no town I have ever seen or lived in.
How about the town of Roswell rally and let their emails, texts and phone calls be heard? Let’s not let them get away with treating our treasure and history like this.
I believe we are six degrees of separation from somebody that knows somebody that knows the right person to make things happen. Somebody knows somebody in MLB, the Indians and White Sox, that can make honoring Tom Jordan — the oldest living baseball player — a reality.
What those folks are doing is denying Tom Jordan his day to be honored for his achievements. They are not just doing it to a 99-year-old man, they’re doing it to Roswell and Chaves County. Let’s pull together as a town and let our voices be heard and let MLB, the Indians and White Sox know they cannot do that.
There is still time to make it right: The Indians and White Sox can have Tom and his family fly into those respective cities and honor him by throwing out the first pitch, and give him a jersey with his name on it, before the end of the season. As many RDR readers know, Tom, once he finished his Major League career, could have chosen anywhere to live. Tom chose to live in Roswell and be a part of the community. Show MLB they cannot be silent or ignore Tom or Roswell.
MLB quite simply can honor him by having him throw out the first pitch in this year’s World Series.
Roswell rise up, pull together and let MLB hear your voices.