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Blake Pontchartrain: Ted Jourdan

The New Orleans baseball player broke into the big leagues in 1916



Hey Blake,

I read your story about Shoeless Joe Jackson (Oct. 17). There is another interesting New Orleans connection to him and the Chicago Black Sox. My great uncle, Ted Jourdan, played for Chicago from 1916 to 1920 but not during the year of the scandal. I don't have much information about him. Can you help?

— David

Dear David,

  When Ted Jourdan died in 1961, States-Item newspaper sports columnist Harry Martinez said that while "New Orleans has sent many good ballplayers to the major leagues ... there has never been a finer fielding first baseman to go up from here than Ted Jourdan."

  Born in the city in 1895, he attended Jesuit High School and Loyola University. After playing first base for Loyola's first baseball team and playing semi-pro ball, Jourdan broke into the big leagues in 1916 when he signed with the Chicago White Sox. For his first few years, the White Sox had Jack Fournier and Chick Gandil as their regular first basemen. "Ted was such a fine glove man, however, that he was retained because of his fine defensive play," Martinez wrote. "Those who saw him play recall that he was as graceful a fielder as you can find in the majors."

  According to the Society for American Baseball Research, Jourdan saw limited play in 1917, then joined the Army in 1918. In 1919, he was farmed out by the White Sox to the minor league Minneapolis Millers. As a result, he did not play during the season that resulted in the Black Sox Scandal, in which eight players, including "Shoeless Joe" Jackson, were accused of losing the World Series in exchange for money from gamblers.

  Jourdan returned to Chicago for the 1920 season but hurt his ankle during a May game and never fully recovered. Later that year, he was traded to the Salt Lake Bees and never made it back to the majors, playing for a handful of teams throughout the 1920s. He returned to New Orleans in 1930 to play for the Pelicans, which released him after just one season. In 1931, he became player-manager for a minor league team in Monroe. After his baseball career ended, he worked as a bookkeeper. He died in New Orleans on Sept. 23, 1961.

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