I was beginning to think my GPS unit finally gave in and gave up. It was taking me across roads in the eastern portion of Clearfield County that were narrow enough I hoped I did not encounter anybody coming the other way.
After taking a very scenic drive on the roads south of the small community of Mineral Springs, I found myself headed southward on Hogback Road, a road that I had crossed earlier in the day. I was at the point I was ignoring the constant the voice on the GPS, and I almost missed the turn for Spring Valley Road. Located on a sharp right turn on the Hogback, at first I thought it was somebody’s driveway, but the GPS insisted that this was the correct road, and I once again found myself on a narrow, rural road. I was glad when I saw the church standing on one side of the road and the small cemetery on the opposite.
The Spring Valley Cemetery was one of the smaller cemeteries I had visited in search of Pennsylvania’s baseball players. I parked next to the church and stepped out to scan the small plot of land – there were only four or five hundred graves maximum and knowing the gentleman I had come to pay my respects for was a veteran, that meant I only had roughly fifty graves which were marked with the American flag.
I walked slowly along Spring Valley Road, studying the stones in the cemetery. At the western edge of the cemetery, next to the road, was the small, military-issued plaque that marked the burial location of the man that brought me here. The plaque was for a local veteran and baseball player who made a brief appearance in the Major Leagues in 1953.
Milton Mignot “Milt” Jordan was born May 24, 1927 in Clearfield, the son of Harry and Mary Jordan. Growing up in the community of Mineral Springs, Jordan attended the Clearfield High School where he excelled in baseball and football and was a member of the wrestling team. After dropping out of school at the end of his junior year, Jordan entered the military and served in the Army Air Corps for thirty-one months, being stationed in England and Germany during his enlistment.
Returning home, Jordan pitched in local games, where he was noticed and asked to join the Jamestown team at their 1948 spring training in Hershey. He was signed to the team and made his appearance that year with the Falcons of the Pennsylvania-Ontario-New York League. The right-handed pitcher went fourteen and six that season. As a batter, he only had eight hits for the season, one of which was a homerun.
The following year was split between two different teams – the Williamsport Tigers of the Eastern League and the Durham Bulls of the Carolina League. The 1950 season again saw him pitching for the Durham Bulls and unfortunately it was a losing season, having twelve wins and thirteen losses.
The 1951 season saw Jordan on the roster of the Toledo Mud Hens, starting the season with a three-hit shutout and ending it with six wins and twelve losses. The 1952 season would see a turnaround as he was placed on the roster of the Buffalo Bisons of the International League. That season he had a twelve-win, nine-loss record, with one shutout.
Jordan would then find himself on the starting roster of the Detroit Tigers in 1953. He had a couple of appearances as a relief pitcher, and on April 22, made his first – and only – appearance as a starter. In the game against the Chicago White Sox, Jordan went seven innings before being pulled and the Tigers went on to lose nine-seven. Between his start and relief pitching, Jordan played seventeen innings over eight games in the Majors, during which he only had four strikeouts and is listed as having no wins and one loss in his Major League career.
Note: In many sources, it is stated that Jordan had a disastrous second inning, giving up six runs. I’m not sure where they got this from. He did give up two homeruns, one of which drove in another run. It would not be until the sixth inning the White Sox scored again and then scored twice more in the seventh, that is when Jordan was pulled from the game.
Jordan was sent back to Buffalo for the remainder of the 1953 season, where he had a much better season and went on to have a twelve-win, one-loss record. The following year was split between the Buffalo Bisons and the Little Rock Travelers of the Southern Association. He ended the season with a five and twelve record. Jordan spent the 1955 season with the Little Rock team where he had a seven to six record. His final season was in 1955 as a member of the Buffalo Bisons.
In his nine seasons in the Minors, Jordan pitched in 309 games with a sixty-eight wins, sixty loss record and had twenty-one complete games. As a batter, Jordan’s career in the Minors included forty-six hits, nine doubles, one triple, four homeruns and thirteen RBIs. Note: Jordan’s statics are incomplete, so his statistics may be slightly higher than listed.
At the end of his baseball career, Jordan settled in Lansing, New York, where he worked for Cargill Salt until his retirement in 1990. Jordan passed May 13, 1993, less than a month after being honored as a member of the Clearfield County Hall of Fame. Sixty-five at the time of his death, he left behind a wife and three children and their families.
I finished paying my respects to Milton Jordan and his baseball career as a truck pulling a lawn mower stopped in the church lot across the road from where I stood. Taking this as my sign to continue my day’s journey, I left the sacred spot of land, remembering his baseball career and his military service.