Brian O’Neal Jordan (born March 29, 1967) is a former Major League Baseball outfielder and National Football League safety. In the NFL, he played for the Atlanta Falcons, while he played in the MLB for the St. Louis Cardinals, Atlanta Braves, Los Angeles Dodgers, and Texas Rangers.
Jordan was a sports star at Milford Mill High School in Milford Mill, Maryland. After graduating from the University of Richmond, Jordan embarked on a dual baseball and football career. He was drafted in the first round of the 1988 MLB draft by the St. Louis Cardinals. In the 1989 NFL Draft, he was selected in the 7th round by the Buffalo Bills, however he was cut in training camp.
While climbing the ladder in the Cardinals’ minor league system, Jordan played defensive back for the Falcons from 1989 to 1991. He had five interceptions and four sacks in his brief NFL career. He led Atlanta in tackles and was voted as an alternate to the National Football Conference Pro Bowl team during the 1991 season.
In June 1992 Jordan signed a new contract with St Louis that gave him a $1,700,000 signing bonus to give up football and play baseball exclusively, ending his football career.
St. Louis Cardinals
Jordan made his Major League debut on April 8, 1992 with the Cardinals. He played mostly as a utility outfielder during his first three seasons, but in his first full year, in 1995, he had a deserving season. His stats included 145 hits, 20 doubles, and a .296 batting average in 490 at-bats. He also flashed his power by hitting 22 home runs and 81 RBIs. He built on his success in 1996, hitting .310 with 104 RBIs and a .349 on-base percentage, playing mostly as the right fielder and cleanup hitter for the Cardinals. Jordan posted a .422 batting average with runners in scoring position (RISP), which became the Cardinals’ all-time highest mark (the statistics has been officially and reliably kept since 1974), until Allen Craig topped it in 2013. He also led the Major Leagues in batting average with the bases loaded. In the postseason that year, Jordan hit .333 in the NLDS and had a game-winning home run in Game 4 of the 1996 NLCS.
Shrugging off a relatively disastrous and injury-riddled 1997 season in which he hit .234 with no home runs, Jordan had possibly the best season of his career in 1998, his last year with St. Louis. He scored 100 runs, saw his power return with 25 home runs, and batted a career-high .316, with an outstanding .534 slugging percentage.
His stats in 1998 helped earn Jordan a $21.3 million contract with the Atlanta Braves.