Where are they now? Kevin Jordan

Where are they now? Kevin Jordan

A decade after he played his last big league game, for the Phillies in 2001, infielder Kevin Jordan found himself in Australia, working construction, putting up concrete retaining walls

It's not like that ...

Jordan moved because his wife, Nina, is from Down Under. They already had a base in Brisbane and decided to build a home there. And he remained connected to the game as manager of the Brisbane Bandits of the Australian Baseball League (2010-12) and as a coach with Team Australia.

Phillies alumni

Jordan also built a house there and met the guy who ran the company and, well, one thing led to another.

"I bought some boots and work gear and some gloves. It was cool," Jordan said earlier this season while visiting Citizens Bank Park. "It was a fantastic experience, it really was. I loved it. It's a lot of work, but it was rewarding.

"I was building walls every day. Sometimes we worked 12-hour days and I really liked it. It's dangerous, obviously. But I tell people I have an excavator license and I carry it with me. It's kind of like a badge of honor to have that. Because who would have thought? I didn't plan on doing construction, but it was fun. I did a lot of the work around the home when we were building the house out there. Good times."

Jordan, who turns 48 on Oct. 9, was originally signed by the Yankees and closed out his career in the Reds, Giants and Tigers systems and playing for the Camden RiverSharks of the independent Atlantic League.

But after being traded to the Phillies along with pitchers Bobby Munoz and Ryan Karp for pitchers Terry Mulholland and Jeff Patterson on Feb. 9, 1994, Jordan played every one of his 560 Major League games for the Phils from 1995-2001. He rejoined the organization in 2007 and spent six years as a Minor League coach.

Which is an amazing coincidence when you think about it, because Jordan grew up in the San Francisco area as a Phillies fan. When he was a young kid, he won a contest. Jordan could pick out a uniform top of any team. At first, he leaned toward the Yankees, but there was nothing in his size. But Jordan loved the Phils shirt. Later there was an autograph session that included Mike Schmidt and Garry Maddox. He was hooked.

Jordan's most memorable moment occurred on Sept. 8, 1997, a sixth-inning pinch-hitting appearance at Shea Stadium against Jason Isringhausen of the Mets. His two-run double helped break the game open. But that's not what made it so special.

It was the last game beloved broadcaster Rich Ashburn would call; he passed away hours later at the team hotel in Manhattan. Ashburn was known for fouling off pitches until he got one he liked. Jordan fought off 10 straight pitches that night before getting his big hit. In the booth, Ashburn was delighted by the at bat. And the two had another bond. Jordan played at the University of Nebraska, while Ashburn was born and raised in Tilden, Neb.

"That was special," said Jordan, who was the team's top pinch-hitter in both 1997 and '98.

The Jordans moved back to the Bay Area last year for family reasons. Daughter Vavineh is a senior in high school. Son Kevin Jr. is playing baseball at College of Mateo. Jordan gives private hitting lessons and helps coach his daughter's softball team and supports his son's ambitions.

"I'm just trying to be around them as much as possible before they go off into the world," he explained. "With baseball, it's such a short window you have to try to do well. And he really loves it and wants to play professionally if he gets the opportunity. So I just felt like I needed to be able to help him as much as possible to live out the dream that he has at this moment. And then whatever happens, happens. But I didn't want to not be around or not be available for that."

Jordan was back in Philadelphia in August filling in as a radio analyst for a series against the Mets. He's still the hitting coach for Team Australia, but he might want to pursue a career in broadcasting at some point, even though he was initially reluctant to give it a try.

"Radio is different. I'm used to being on the field. I never called a game," Jordan said. "I talked to my family and they were like, 'These are once-in-a-lifetime opportunities.' So I stressed out over it and decided to come on out. It's nerve-wracking, but I'm glad I did.

"The older I get, the more I want to be able to take chances and risks. Because you only live once and I want to try to enjoy these things."

Even things like working construction.

Paul Hagen is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.