PHILADELPHIA -- Tom Gordon, who had a two-decade career as a Major League pitcher, arrived from Orlando on Monday night just in time to watch son Dee's debut, with equal parts pride and disbelief.
"You can't describe it. It's such a wonderful feeling," said Gordon, who spent three years as a Phillie, where Dee would often work out with the club. "At the same time you try take it all in and try to help the best way I can to keep him under control, give him the best opportunities and watch him progress."
The younger Gordon, 23, was called up to take over for the Dodgers at shortstop, pushing his way past a hot-hitting Jamey Carroll to be heir-apparent for the injured Rafael Furcal. He scored a run as a pinch-hitter, giving him one more run than Dad had in two decades.
Tom Gordon, a three-time All-Star, said he's surprised his son followed in his big league footsteps.
"Devaris [Dee's full name] didn't take a liking to baseball seriously until college," said Tom. "He didn't show me he wanted to be a baseball player. Basketball was where his heart was. I had no idea Devaris would dedicate himself to the game. He played basketball very well, and a lot of college teams would have given him the opportunity to play. This all happened so quickly."
Dee Gordon's exceptional tool is his speed, but Tom was surprised by that, too.
"I had never seen him run until one day when he was 18 he ran a 60-yard dash for the Phillies," he said. "I wasn't sure what I was looking at, then he ran against another kid that was supposed to be the fastest in the organization. Then I figured maybe he had some speed, and he just kept getting better."
Father said he was more excited about his son's debut than his own.
"Every father hopes his son does a whole lot better than you could ever be," he said. "That's what I'm hoping for my kid. I hope he's a better player, and I hope he gains the respect of his peers."
And father said he had no regrets about not being able to stay active long enough to pitch against Dee.
"Now that really would have been something, but you know, I'm actually not [upset]," he said. "To be honest with you, what I asked for, I got. I was really blessed to be able to play as long as I got to play. Really blessed not to have more than two surgeries. The way it went it actually helped me just to get home to help him be a better player and better person."