Gordon has unwavering admiration for mom

Royals outfielder points to work ethic among values he learned at home

Gordon has unwavering admiration for mom

KANSAS CITY -- As her son began to test the free-agent waters last offseason, Leslie Gordon simply had one recurring thought.

"I couldn't imagine him playing anywhere else but Kansas City," she said.

Finally, after some anxious weeks for fans and family, Alex Gordon did re-sign with the Royals on Jan.6.

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"I just knew he would make the right choice," Leslie said. "I'm just grateful he wound up back with the Royals. The Royals are a great organization. It's like family."

And family comes first for the Gordons, which is what makes Mother's Day so special for Alex and his mom.

Alex often credits his mother for his unyielding work ethic. Leslie helped raise four boys in Lincoln, Neb. -- Eric, Alex, Brett (who was named after George Brett) and youngest son Derek, a pitcher for the Royals' Class A Advanced team in Wilmington, Del.

"She really has meant everything to me," Alex said. "She instilled in all of us a great sense of work ethic. She would work night shifts as a nurse from 11 to 7. And at that time she owned an antique store during the day, so we would always wonder when it was that she slept. And she always said she didn't need sleep."

Aside from working, Leslie also found time to take each of her boys to countless sporting activities.

"There was always a game," she said. "They all played. I don't know, I guess I just never needed much sleep. I just thought it was fun. I felt blessed."

The family bond perhaps is even stronger these days. Leslie has survived two bouts with cancer -- first breast cancer, and most recently, cancer of the appendix. She said the cancer is in remission now.

"I was told I'd have three to five years [to live after the diagnosis of the appendix cancer]," she said. "I'm in Year 4, and so far, so good.

"I feel very blessed. I'm grateful it was me and not one of my kids. God has me on this journey. He needs me on earth and not in heaven. I have a very peaceful existence."

Leslie Gordon and Alex Gordon at Worlds of Fun in Kansas City. (Courtesy of Leslie Gordon)

If possible, Alex has developed even more admiration for his mother through the cancer fight.

"Of course it is scary," he said. "Any time someone close to you has cancer, it's very scary. But my mom has tremendous determination and courage, and she is a fighter."

Leslie has done anything but slow down. She still works as a registered nurse at Bryan West Hospital in Lincoln, with two 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. shifts a week.

"Next year, I'll be at 40 years there," she said. "Then that will probably be it. It's just a milestone I want to get to."

And with Mother's Day at hand, does Alex have a traditional gift for his mother?

"I think more important than gifts or flowers is just to call them and talk and tell them how much you love them and care about them," he said. "That's way more important than any gift."

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.