‘Fish On’ Forever: Lee Jordan’s impact felt far and wide

Friday, January 11, 2019 - 12:51
  • The scoreboard at Lee Jordan Field in Chugiak. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • Lee Jordan sings “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” alongside his wife, Barbara, at Lee Jordan Field in Chugiak. (Photo for the Star by Michael Dinneen)

This tribute to Lee Jordan is written on behalf of all Chinooks baseball alumni who have spent a summer or two in Alaska and who had their lives touched by Lee’s passion for the game.

I had the privilege of broadcasting and keeping stats for the Chugiak-Eagle River Chinooks in the summer of 2014. I regularly find myself talking about my time there, and it’s hardly ever about something that happened on the field. I made many memories and lifelong friends, but I also saw the lives of many young men change through Athletes in Action in just a short two-month period. I had only been in Alaska for a handful of days before our general manager told the group about Lee Jordan, who he was and what he did. None of us thought much of it – until we met Lee.

The first time I remember seeing him was at a game, though I wasn’t able to shake hands and officially meet him until a week or so later. What was clear from the very beginning was that he had a passion for both the game of baseball and the Chugiak-Eagle River community. He was constantly talking with our players about where they were from, and he was always willing to share a story or two, which I think everyone grew to appreciate. I remember talking about some “old school” players and teams with him, and had there not been a game to tend to, that conversation might’ve lasted for several hours. There was always something about Lee that made him so magnetic, and it was, to say the least, infectious. Lee always wanted to be close to the action, and it seemed like he was always smiling, even when the scoreboard didn’t favor the Fish.

Midway through the summer, we found out that a new name for the field had been approved. It would now be Lee Jordan Field, and there would be a ceremony to recognize the change. The day came to do so, and I remember it raining all over the festivities, but that didn’t stop anything. There ended up being no game against the Miners that day, but there was, as usual, lots of food, countless laughs, and Lee. It truly felt like we were one big family, gathered together to rightfully recognize our patriarch. The sign didn’t come until a season later, when my broadcast partner from 2014 returned and sent me the picture of it. After getting to know Lee a bit, seeing the sign that recognized the man that made it all happen felt like our home on Old Glenn Highway finally had what it had been missing.

We were all just college kids chasing some sort of a dream – some with a headset and some with a glove – but Alaska was a major change for each of us. We had seen moose up and down the mountain behind the fence, played dozens of games of Mafia in the locker room, hiked and fished like never before, but what brought us all together was the game that Lee worked so hard to bring to Chugiak-Eagle River. It’s hard to grasp how many lives Lee impacted along his journey, but his efforts helped bring us memories, relationships and breathtaking moments, and I’ll forever be grateful for his dedication the Chinooks.

Fish on forever, Lee, and thank you.

Jordan Herrod

Jordan Herrod broadcasted for the Chugiak-Eagle River Chinooks baseball team in 2014 as a grad student. He hails from Texas but currently calls Fresno, California his home and works as the Assistant Director of Athletics Communications at Fresno Pacific University.

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