Now that’s some exclusive company.
When the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) celebrated its centennial recently, representatives picked a 28-man baseball team to embody the best of 100 years from arguably the toughest NCAA Division III conference in the country.
Prominently featured on the squad was Merrill’s own Jordan Stine, who helped UW-Whitewater make two trips to the college world series in a five-year span (2006-2008, 2010), including a third-place national finish in 2008.
Jordan gives credit for his inclusion to his teammates.
“It’s pretty awesome,” Jordan said. “I didn’t even know about it until my dad (Chuck) and a good friend texted me.
“To the victor go the spoils, so it definitely helps that Whitewater has been on top of the conference since 2000. Being on a successful team helps you get noticed.
“As far as an individual award, I would put it up there (with the best he’s received), but without the team success, I wouldn’t have been in there. I think a lot of it comes down to consistency and longevity.”
Longevity comes from getting an early chance and making the most of it.
“It took me a little bit, but once I got my opportunity, I kept the centerfield position for all four years of my eligibility,” Jordan said.
Big hits stand out in Jordan’s mind when he thinks back at his college career. Rating #1 is fitting into the middle of a five-batter streak of home runs in a 2008 game with UW-Oshkosh, and his homer in his first at-bat in the college world series-also in 2008-isn’t far behind.
He also remembers the nailbiter losses to end seasons, including the 13-12 defeat by Johns Hopkins University in the 2008 World Series that kept them from the championship, and the 3-2 nipping by UW-Stevens Point in the regional final to cut off a 42-7 senior campaign.
“We finished 35 games above .500, so that’s pretty impressive,” he said. “Point was our rival. We went 5-5 with them that year, so five of our seven losses were to them. I think about (the 3-2 loss) once in a while. I can’t let go of it lightly.”
Several big-leaguers grace the WIAC Centennial team, including former Brewers Jim Gantner, Jerry Augustine, Bob Wickman and Vinnie Rottino, as well as Jarrod Washburn, Gary Varsho and Jordan Zimmerman.
“It’s humbling looking at the people on the list, but it’s something I’m receiving with a lot of pride,” he said.
Jordan would have given much to be there with them.
“Absolutely,” he said. “I think it’s safe to say that the majority of college baseball players would like to play on the next level, the minors. That was a goal of mine that didn’t work out, but I’m very happy with my college career and my team at Whitewater.”
Injuries may have been a deciding factor in the non-call, since Jordan was never drafted. He suffered a shoulder separation as a sophomore, a concussion and partially torn rotator cuff as a junior, and complete rotator tear as a senior.
“I was just looking for an opportunity, and it didn’t come whether it was injuries or other things,” Jordan said. “But to be honest, I have no idea what scouts are thinking. My number wasn’t called, so I finished my senior year and just went on from there.”
Jordan recently completed a masters degree in sports management at Cardinal Stritch Univ., serving as a graduate assistant coach to the baseball team. He starts a new sales and marketing job this week at K.D. Concepts.
Now that’s some exclusive company.