AUBURN — Tim Jordan did what might be considered unthinkable today.

The sport he had played often as a kid and excelled at was baseball. Yet Jordan didn’t walk away from the game just once as a kid, but he did it twice.

“When I was 12 it was my last year in Little League, Major Division, and I quit playing baseball,” said Jordan.

As a middle school student and as a sophomore in high school, Jordan opted out of playing baseball. In this world of specialization and parents pushing athletes, Jordan did what he wanted to do, and it didn’t work out so badly for him.

“My father was a big believer in always being there for me but was never overbearing,” said Jordan. “He let me play what I wanted to play and let me do what I wanted to do. He wasn’t a father that was constantly pushing me to do this or do that.”

Tim Jordan will join his father, Robert Jordan, in the Auburn-Lewiston Sports Hall of Fame. He is among four new inductees to be recognized Sunday at the annual banquet at Lost Valley.

Jordan had grown up playing and loving baseball and eventually took his game to the minor league level. Before he took his game to new heights, he took time off.

The first time, in middle school, his mother had a newborn. She had little time to drive him around to games and practices. Jordan had been playing baseball almost constantly in previous years and decided it was a good time to take a break.

After playing as a freshman at Walton, he left the game again. He decided to concentrate on golf, which was played the same season as baseball back then.

He couldn’t stay away from the game for long. It was always a sport that lured him back. Whether it was his connection to friends, his love of the game or feel for the sport, baseball always had a place in Jordan’s life.

“Even though I played all different sports including golf, baseball seemed to be the one that I excelled at or the one that came more natural to me,” said Jordan, who was a three-sports standout in baseball, golf and football at EL.” It’s the sport I had a lot of success with in Little League.”

Jordan decided to give baseball another try his junior year at Edward Little. Just a week before tryouts began, however, he broke his wrist. It nixed any hopes of playing that season, but he spent plenty of time with the team at the field.

“I’d walk down to Pettengill in the afternoon and shag flies,” said Jordan, who graduated from EL in 1977 and won a state title with the football team. “I’d hit balls to outfielders or just hung out with my friends.”

The following year, he joined the team in full. The Red Eddies had players that were drawing attention from various scouts, including Mike Coutts. EL coach Dick Osgood suggested scouts take a look at his promising centerfielder, Jordan. When EL played a game at Brunswick, one of the Dragons was also being scouted.

“So some of the scouts started coming around,” said Jordan. “There were four of us at that one game (in Brunswick) and there were scouts everywhere.”

Jordan admits he was oblivious to the process back then. When the amateur draft was held, Jordan didn’t even know it. He was equally unaware that Milwaukee had drafted him. It wasn’t until his father suggested he take a look at the paper the following morning that he was informed.

“I opened up the paper and there was a picture of me,” said Jordan, who assumed it was just an article previewing an EL playoff game that afternoon. “I read the article and I read that I had been drafted.”

He had already made college plans but at the suggestion of his father, he decided to give pro ball a try. He went to New York state for what he thought was a tryout but realized he had made the team and was there for the summer.

Though he was solid enough defensively he struggled at the plate in his first year.

“I really struggled with the velocity and the speed of the pitching,” he said. “It was nothing like what I faced in high school. I hadn’t played all that many games in high school.”

He was with the Milwaukee organization before being traded to the New York Yankees. In his third season in the minor leagues, he started to get comfortable with his game.

“That’s when something kind of happened,” he said, who was a two-time all-star and won two league titles with the Fort Lauderdale Yankees. “I started to develop some confidence. I had a really good offensive year. That’s when I realized I had an opportunity to do something.”

In a few more years in the Yankees system, Jordan struggled with inconsistency, injury and an inability to make a dent in a talent-laden Yankee organization.

“You were almost praying for a trade out of there just so you could go somewhere where you might get a chance,” said Jordan.

That trade never came nor did a resurgence in his game. Feeling almost too old to still be in the minor leagues and still hampered by injuries, Jordan realized it was time to walk away.

“I kind of plateaued but never really got any further,” said Jordan. “I thought I could play at the Major League level defensively, but I just never really developed offensively.”

He initially settled in Florida, got married and started a family. He returned to Maine in 1989 and got involved in coaching basketball and baseball as his two sons grew up.

“I honestly felt because of my background and knowledge and because so many people when I was a kid volunteered their time. I felt that when my kids were young that I owed it to them and needed to give back a little bit,” said Jordan.

Now that he’s being recognized for his athletic exploits and being inducted into the Auburn-Lewiston Sports Hall of Fame, he’s been reflecting back on the game he loved and left during his lifetime.

“I had six great years of minor league baseball,” he said. “I do it again in a heartbeat. There’s a few regrets and things I’d do a little differently, but for the most part, I really enjoyed myself. It was a tremendous experience and I got a lot of life lessons out of it.”

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