The son and younger brother to All Stars, Nick Gordon always seemed destined for the major leagues. When he was drafted 5th overall in 2014 out of Olympia High School in Orlando, Gordon was tabbed as the Twins “shortstop of the future.”
As a top prospect, Gordon steadily climbed the organization’s minor league ladder until 2020 happened. While 2020 was a lost year for all of baseball’s minor leagues, Gordon was stricken with a severe case of Covid-19, which aggravated other health issues. Staying in baseball shape was not an option. Staying functional was the priority.
The resilient Gordon bounced back in time for 2021 and made his big-league debut last May. While the “shortstop of the future” thing hasn’t quite worked out, Gordon has used his athleticism and high baseball IQ to play every position on the diamond except first base and catcher (yes, he even pitched a scoreless inning on May 11).
I caught up with the 26-year-old outside his locker during the Cleveland series this week.
DZ: Well, the season’s about two and a half months in now. What are your impressions of the team so far? How are you feeling?
GORDON: I mean, long season, so I know we are just trying to keep working hard, man, keep working hard, keep playing hard, enjoying life today. I’m taking every day as it comes. And I would say we’ve been playing some good baseball. We have a really good team. Knowing it’s really just about progressing, being consistent, getting better and continuing to win ball games.
DZ: You made the opening day roster this year for the first time. What was that like?
GORDON: It was awesome. It was a dream come true. Every kid, who plays this game, definitely dreams for a day like that. And for me it was eye opening to able to just be here for an opening day that wasn’t for my dad or my brother. That was pretty big for me. Yeah. It was a blessing. I enjoyed it.
DZ: You mentioned your dad and your brother, obviously you have a big baseball family. How much has that helped your development and just not being in awe things, I guess?
GORDON: I mean, it helps a lot. I mean, can’t really explain it…I’m blessed to be in the position that I am, and to be the youngest, to get it from both of them. For me, it’s all about getting better. I think they instill that in me. And just watching them go about their days, how they get better and to do things like that, it’s helped me in my career.
DZ: Growing up, did you ever meet teammates of your dad that maybe kept in touch with you? Or helped you along the way?
GORDON: Pretty much all of them, man…You know he played with guys like Derek Jeter, Jimmy Rollins, all those guys. I wanted to be a shortstop coming up my whole life. So just watching the best do it and now getting to play with one of the best is awesome. I can’t really say too much that I’m not thankful for. I’m really thankful for it all.
DZ: Right now, you’re playing a lot of different positions. How many gloves do you have in your locker?
GORDON: How many? Like four or five right now. Honestly, man, I love my job. I love where I’m at. I love doing what I’m doing. And as many positions I can learn; if there were 11 positions on the field, I’d want to – or 12, I’d try to learn all 12.
DZ: Missing 2020…what’d you do to stay ready during that time?
GORDON: Honestly, there really wasn’t nothing I could do. I was sick. I was doing more testing, things like that for my body. I was at the doctors mostly. So, I really wasn’t doing too much playing baseball or things like that. I was really weak. My body couldn’t really function the way that I would like to have been. And it was difficult for me. So, 2020 was a rough year, but we ended up getting down to a perfect solution of what all was causing problems and things like that. So, for me it was definitely a progression because I got through that.
DZ: One last thing, back to your dad (Tom Gordon), what is he doing these days?
GORDON: Hanging out, Perfect Game (amateur baseball organization), traveling, doing some broadcasting with the Red Sox. He’s pretty active, definitely in the community, AdventHealth (golf tournament), things like that.