Pat Jordan calls himself a colt failure.
It made his career -- a national writer for the likes of "The New York Times Magazine," "The New Yorker," "Harper's," "Sports Illustrated," "GQ," "Rolling Stone" and "Playboy" among others.
On top of that are 11 books, including "A False Spring," a baseball memoir named by "Sports Illustrated" as one of the best, and "A Nice Tuesday," what Jordan calls his best.
Most of Jordan's articles are profile pieces about famous athletes and Hollywood celebrities, while his books include sports memoirs and novels of different sorts.
In 1959, he signed a contract with the Milwaukee Braves organization as an 18-year-old pitcher just out of high school who had an angry, rising fastball. Along with his curveball, high school was easy for him on top of the mound.
He took his confidence to the minor leagues and started witnessing smarter, more-skilled batters hold off on swinging at high fastballs outside the strike zone. Jordan was walking batters instead of striking them out, as he did so often growing up.
After three years in the minors, he walked away from the game at 21 years old a failure, blaming his head and frustration -- an experience shared in "A False Spring."
"I never faced failure, and once I faced failure, I panicked," Jordan said. "Best thing that happened, I got thrown out at 21. So, at least I failed big and quick so I could get into something else."
Brazen and thick-voiced from an Italian family, Jordan grew up in Connecticut and moved to Abbeville in 2009, where he lives with his wife, Susan, who he affectionately calls Susie or Blondie, and their four dogs.
Before South Carolina, it was Florida, where Jordan associates new beginnings from his time spent there during spring training.
He studied English and started working as a teacher at an all-girls Catholic school while working nights at a newspaper on the sports desk.
"It was gratifying, because I was a failure. Then, I really started to enjoy writing, because I'm competing with myself," Jordan said.
Dedicated to his craft, Jordan said he spends every day in front of his typewriter.
He started writing profiles for national publications -- baseball players at first, then other sports, female athletes and celebrities. They are the type of stories people read in GQ, where a writer meets someone of note at a coffee shop and writes about the little quirks people never knew about only to be discovered in that brief moment of actualities.
However, Jordan takes it a step further, such as his visits with O.J. Simpson, NFL football legend who was acquitted of murder in 1995.
Jordan spent 15 hours with Simpson and offered readers in-depth conversations with the controversial figure over dinner, a round of golf and some car rides.
"I don't tell you how to size the guy up at the end," Jordan said. "You want the reader to take part in the story and want them to discover something the writer didn't know he was doing. You don't want them to say how smart you are. You want them to think how dumb you are."
Jordan's storytelling is straightforward, rarely filtered and removes the writer from the story. In his memoirs about his own experiences, he said he wants the reader to experience the people he's writing about and not the writer.
Ernest Hemingway is by far Jordan's favorite writer, cataloging his advent of modern writing, where he uses a more-informed public to develop a story. Radio and photography allowed Hemingway to omit certain description and to simplify things, Jordan said.
"To underplay everything and use simple language created a more powerful expression," Jordan said. "He was a master of putting emotional nuances into his characters where there was no emotion."
He gave the example of a woman who had just discovered her husband had been unfaithful going to the kitchen and doing the dishes.
More than 30 years into his writing career, Jordan got a shot at redemption from his failed baseball career, chronicled in "A Nice Tuesday."
"I just wanted to overcome that forgetting-how-to-pitch failure," Jordan said.
After working out for four months, Jordan took the mound for the Waterbury Spirit, an independent minor-league team in Connecticut in the first inning at the age of 56 -- the result of convincing his friend and club owner, who was known for creating over-the-top promotions for games.
Jordan, who learned to throw a slider in place of his curveball, fared well. The first batter grounded out, the next was walked, the third grounded out and then the clean-up batter, usually the team's best, was up to bat.
Three pitches, 56 years old, one strikeout.
"That was it. Then, I walked off into the sunset," Jordan said.
Jordan turns 74 this month and still carries his 18-year-old pitcher's confidence with him -- and uses it. He once heard a magazine editor question what makes a dumb jock think he can write.
"That's all I needed to hear," Jordan said.
Even in front of his manual (in case the power goes out) typewriter, Jordan will jump to a challenge about throwing a baseball.
"I'm waiting on my next gig," he said, pulling out his baseball glove filled with baseballs. "You think you can handle my slider?"
Jordan and his wife fell in love with Abbeville when she spoke for the American Cancer Society about her experience of overcoming breast cancer and self-esteem issues related to women who have mastectomies.
They bought an old home with a large backyard in a town isolated from everything -- a great place for him to work, he said.
Jordan, who shies from celebrity, said he likes being known in town as the husband of Susan Jordan, who is still active with the American Cancer Society and is chairwoman of the Historic Properties Protection Commission in Abbeville.
Just returning from assignment Thursday, Jordan is not retired or even partially retired. He still submits story ideas and travels for stories.
Failure looming, he is back in front of his typewriter, hunting and pecking those manual keys until the story is done.