Sullivan Honors Alaskan of the Week: Lee Jordan
WASHINGTON, DC — U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan (R-AK) spoke Monday on the Senate floor in recognition of Lee Jordan, of Eagle River, an instrumental supporter of the Alaska Baseball League. Jordan was recognized as part of Senator Sullivan’s series, “Alaskan of the Week.”
The following is the statement submitted to the Congressional Record:
TRIBUTE TO LEE JORDAN
Madam President, for the last few months, I have been coming down to the floor to recognize someone in my State who, through acts both small and large, has made the State better for all of us. I call this person our Alaskan of the Week. What I am going to do is I am going to talk a little bit about baseball as part of the Alaskan of the Week.
We saw how important baseball is with regard to a sport that can bring Americans together. Just last week, I think people all across the country--certainly in DC and certainly here in the Senate--saw how important that is.
We had that great game--Democrats and Republicans last week coming together. I am a little biased here about the Republican team, with Senator Flake and Senator Paul. We didn't win, but it was a good game. I know we are all still praying for those injured last week, Congressman Scalise and others, but it is important to see how that great American pastime brings us together as a Nation.
There are many great things about my wonderful State. But in Alaska, baseball also brings us together. So I would like to recognize today one of the many people throughout the State who keeps the special institution of baseball alive in Alaska. This gentleman's name is Lee Jordan. He is from Eagle River.
Now, I would venture to guess that most people, when they think of Alaska, think about our spectacular mountains and glaciers. They might think about fishing, our delicious salmon, thousands of miles of State and Federal parks, and our vast wilderness. But baseball probably isn't the first thing that comes to many people's mind when they think about Alaska.
Actually, those who follow baseball understand how important Alaska summers are to taking young college students with raw talent and growing them under the midnight Sun into seasoned, professional baseball players. This is the Alaska Baseball League, and it is one of the premier baseball leagues in the summer in the United States.
Let me give you a few names of those who have come up through the Alaska Baseball League. It has produced some of the most important Major League stars, including Mark McGwire, Barry Bonds, Tom Seaver, Dave Winfield, and Randy Johnson, just to name a few.
Alaska's six-team league includes two teams in Anchorage, one in Fairbanks, one in Palmer, one in Kenai, and--thanks to the unrelenting enthusiasm of Lee Jordan--one in Chugiak-Eagle River, AK, a picturesque area about 20 minutes from Anchorage, nestled in the Chugach Mountains. It is part of Anchorage, but it is also very much its own place, with a sense of pride and people who live there like Lee.
Let me tell you a little bit about Lee Jordan. He was originally from Alabama, where football, not baseball, was king. When he enlisted in the Army in 1947, his choice of overseas assignments was, according to him, “anything but Alaska”—“anyplace but Alaska.'' But he got Alaska, and he stayed and he loved it, and he settled in Chugiak-Eagle River.
Before long, he owned the local newspaper, the Alaska Star--now the Chugiak-Eagle River Star--and he was coaching his son's Little League baseball team. When they got too old for Little League, he began to form new leagues for them to play in, which his boys did. Eventually, his sons got too old for all the leagues, but Lee kept up the love of the game.
Then he and former State Senator Bill Stoltze, a good friend of mine and another huge booster of baseball in Alaska, hatched a plan to get a team to their area as part of the Alaska Baseball League. So the first Chugiak-Eagle River-Chinook game was in 2011, and it is now called the Lee Jordan Field and the Loretta French Sports Complex, and they have been going strong ever since.
This is such a beautiful place. Right now in Alaska every year, we have a midnight Sun baseball game in Fairbanks played on June 21, the summer solstice, the longest day of the year. That game begins at 10:30 p.m. and goes until the wee hours of the morning under a never-setting midnight Sun.
But there are few more beautiful places in the world than Chugiak-Eagle River. Lee Jordan thinks the ballpark is the most beautiful ballpark anywhere, and I can't disagree.
As I have mentioned many times on the floor, it is all about communities. It is all about communities coming together, and Lee has made that happen for Alaskans and baseball lovers, not only in our great State but throughout the country. For that reason, he is our Alaskan of the Week.
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