Written by Caroline Deisley, USC blog contributor
Life is full of crazy twists and turns and sometimes it takes awhile to get where you're going. Bill Bordley, who was once a hot pitching prospect playing for the legendary Rod Dedeaux, is a perfect example of this as his life after USC has been quite an interesting ride.
Bordley had always dreamed of playing Major League baseball. After setting records at his high school in innings pitched, strikeouts, wins and earned run average, Bordley headed to USC where he immediately made an impact leading the Trojans to a national championship his freshman year and going 14-0 as a starting pitcher while also leading the conference in strikeouts.
However, Bordley's collegiate baseball career was short-lived as he entered the MLB draft after his sophomore season. Bordley had always had his eyes set on a bigger prize and that was the big leagues. "I hate to say it, but when I first went to 'SC it was just as a ticket to the major leagues," admitted Bordley.
On June 30, 1980, Bordley had finally made it. He started in his first career game with the San Francisco Giants leading the team to victory over fellow Trojan Tom Seaver and the Cincinnati Reds. However, he did not know at the time that his first season would also be his last. Bordley began developing arm issues and after a series of elbow surgeries, Bordley was forced to cut his baseball dreams short.
Bordley was solely focused on a professional baseball career so when his dream was no longer a reality he looked to a familiar place to find a new passion. He returned to USC where he earned a degree in finance and aided his legendary coach, Rod Dedeaux.
"I was so lucky to be able to go back to USC and earn a degree," said Bordley. "I wouldn't have been able to do what I did without going back."
After earning his degree, Bordley actually used his baseball connections to help him get his next job as a Secret Service agent. "I was always interested in investigations even since when I was a little kid," said Bordley. "The first time I had met anyone with the Secret Service was in 1981 at Shea Stadium when we were playing the Mets. George Bush Sr. was Vice President at the time and he came into the locker room to talk to us so I met his Secret Service agents and kept in touch."
Bordley would leave tickets for the agents at games and kept in touch with them so when his baseball career ended he reached back out to them and worked as a Secret Service agent until he was 50.
He traveled to 85 different countries, dealt with intelligence groups throughout the world and investigated sophisticated financial crimes. But as Bordley said, sports was still the core of who he was so when the opportunity presented itself, he accepted a position as chief of security for the MLB in 2011. Bordley had finally made it back to the major leagues a mere 30 years later.
"There's a myriad of things that sports has taught me," said Bordley. "If you're on a team, you have to get along with people, deal with rejection, deal with the most embarrassing things in front of 50,000 people and then go back out there the next night and do it again. You have to work so hard without any guarantee of success."
These are just some of the things that Bordley now tries to instill in his 10-year-old son and all the young baseball prospects he handles in the MLB.
"That's what these kids don't realize," cautioned Bordley. "Even best case scenario their careers will be done at some point and no matter how much money you make you still have a whole life ahead of you."
Bordley works with every player in the league sending them to seminars and telling them all about the many troubles that they could encounter. He explains to them how tenuous their careers are and how vulnerable they can be with all the people who are after them financially.
Life has a funny way of working itself out and Bordley certainly can attest to that as his early dream of a career in the major leagues has finally come full circle. Though he may not be playing, he was just selected to the College Baseball Hall of Fame and he continues to serve over a thousand players and coaches as chief of security giving back to the sport that he has always known and loved.