"The Best Sports Writing of Pat Jordan"
Collecting Pat Jordan’s journalism into a book was a terrific idea, because otherwise, unless you saved old issues of Philadelphia Magazine, Inside Sports, Premiere, and Harpers, you’d be out of luck if you wanted to read it or re-read it. Jordan’s strengths as a writer are many and varied. He’s a good listener, which counts for a great deal, and he’s got a fine sense of the absurd. In a 2001 New Yorker story about O.J. Simpson, Jordan refers to his subject as “a man unburdening himself of the most intimate truths of his heart which, for O.J., are neither intimate nor true.” Jordan is also a hard worker. Whereas numerous writers were willing to swallow whole the manufactured myth of Gregory “Toe” Nash, a prospect who allegedly “had Mark McGwire power and Doc Gooden’s arm,” Jordan discovered that Nash was a self-destructive thug who’d committed statutory rape and a host of other felonies. He interviewed not only the baseball people who had scouted, coached, and employed Nash, but also the lawyers who’d prosecuted and defended him, and the young woman he’d raped. Pat Jordan’s best work is sharp and durable as well as entertaining. It is “sports writing” because his subjects are involved in games; it is also bright and solid story-telling full of humor, wisdom, and grace.