Jordan crushed the second pitch he saw from Nomo into the leftfield seats. When Jordan returned to the dugout he asked Smith, "You think he'll sign my ball now?"
At the same time Jordan was improving at the plate, he was also developing into the Cardinals' best defensive outfielder. In a game against the Houston Astros, Jordan made a running shoestring catch near the rightfield foul line, wheeled and threw out the speedy Derek Bell at the plate for a double play that saved a 2-1 victory. He committed just one error in 131 games last year. This season he hopes to play in the All-Star Game, win a Gold Glove and perhaps accomplish something that even Rogers Hornsby and Stan Musial never did: become the first 30-30 man in the 104-year history of the Cardinals.
"Maybe, in '96," says Jordan, "people will start to figure out who I am."
Remember, as an athlete who left behind a stellar career in one sport to meet the challenge of his second love, baseball, Brian Jordan wasn't even the most famous Jordan to try that. But never mind Michael Jordan.
Brian Jordan is a homebody on football Sundays now, and on this particular afternoon he watches the Falcons lose to Carolina. Then the Rams lose to the Washington Redskins, and the Raiders lose to the Seattle Seahawks. The once promising seasons of those NFL teams that courted Jordan have crumbled. "Maybe I could've made the difference for one of these teams," Jordan muses. "I can't help but think I could've helped one of them reach the Super Bowl."
"When he was on the football field, that was his heaven," Pam says. "Baseball is more of a challenge to him. But deep down, when it's all over and done, he wants to have conquered both. He wants people to know who Brian Jordan is."
Sanders believes that his buddy will never receive the same recognition as his prime-time, two-sport predecessors. "Bo was the first one, so he had that marketability. And I was the second, but I had my own style that made me different," Sanders says. "I think Brian's just Brian. He's just a good dude."
"I know that when my baseball career is over, I will have proven myself in both sports, but my personality will always make me the invisible two-sport athlete. I understand what's most important to me," Jordan says, with a nod to Brianna, who traps him in an affectionate half nelson. "So what if Brian Jordan is always in the shadow of Bo and Deion and Michael?"
Brian Jordan can live with that. Both Brian Jordans.