On this date 13 years ago the Cardinals lost one of their most popular stars to free agency as Brian Jordan inked a free agent contract with his hometown Atlanta Braves.
Jordan, a two-sport athlete who played safety for the Atlanta Falcons of the NFL before dedicating himself exclusively to baseball, had his best season in 1998 as a supporting player in Mark McGwire's drive to break Roger Maris' single season home run record. He batted .316 with 25 homers 91 RBIs to earn his new deal.
While Cardinals fans hated to see BJ leave, he never reached his 1998 totals in Atlanta. Jordan hit as many as 25 homers only once for Atlanta and his highest batting average in a single season was .299. But it was a steep drop off after that. He batted .274 with an average of 12 homers and 56 RBIs in five seasons with the Braves before bouncing around to the Dodgers, Rangers and back to Atlanta to end his career.
Jordan's career was severely hampered by injuries. But he was known for giving everything he had when he was in the game. I remember watching him play against the Cubs at Wrigley Field when he slammed into the brick outfield wall while trying to chase down a fly. He lay on the ground for several minutes as the trainer ran out to attend to him and it seemed certain that Jordan would come out of the game. But, after a few minutes, the trainer headed back to the dugout without Jordan.
Following the contest Jordan said he was pretty banged up by the collision. But Cubs fans in the bleachers had been riding him all game -- and he wouldn't give them the satisfaction of jeering him as he left with an injury.