As may be expected of students at Harvard, sophomore right-handed pitcher Jordan Haviland is no stranger to honors—he has been a member of three national honor societies, a captain of two different teams, and received accolades nearly every step of the way. But even among his towering trophies and most pristine plaques, the one honor of which Haviland is most proud is the one most people overlook: just getting to play the game.
Two generations down from a strong tradition of baseball, it’s the honor of playing, and not the honors from play, which continues to motivate him.
“I grew up loving the culture of the game,” Haviland said. “Being a part of the family basically meant being a part of baseball.”
Considering his life at home, this comes as all but a surprise. Even at a young age, it didn’t take long for Haviland to catch up on the sport that consumed his household. From the front door to the dinner table, baseball seemed to be the name of the game.
And with a University of Connecticut ballplayer for a father, and an alumni from Cornell’s baseball team for a grandfather, it only seemed right.
Clayton Haviland, Jordan’s grandfather, played as both a catcher and a pitcher for the Big Red for four years, and Tim Haviland, Jordan’s father, spent his college career as an outfielder for the Huskies.
Needless to say, he’s never had a shortage of role models.
“I saw how positive of an influence the sport played in both my dad and grandad’s lives, and that played a huge role,” said Haviland of the examples set by his family. “But, if my dad is the one who taught me to love the game, my brother would have to be the one who taught me to play it. If anyone counts as my role model, it has to be Shawn.”
Having Shawn Haviland, a former Ivy League Pitcher of the Year, for an older brother didn’t hurt.
Joining the Crimson just two years after his sibling’s departure, the older Haviland’s shadow was still very much a presence for his younger brother.
“They definitely started playing baseball from two different points,” senior pitcher Max Perlman said. “Jordan was more traditionally athletic, and Shawn was a very strong kid. Jordan came in as an infielder and a hitter, and Shawn as a pitcher.”
One concentrated in Government, and the other is set on History and Science. Shawn came into college at an imposing 6’ 2”, 185 pounds. His brother? Two inches on the shorter side, and about 10 pounds less to show for it. The older one was known since his sophomore year of high school for throwing a frightening fastball, while the younger one’s always been more of a fan of the knuckle curveball. As Perlman clearly stated, the two are far from being the same person, let alone the same player.
But ultimately, what brings them both together is as simple as what runs through their veins: baseball blood, and ice water.
In a 2005 interview, Harvard coach Joe Walsh noted the then-freshman Shawn Haviland’s cold composure on the mound as his defining characteristic. Six years later, his younger brother is following suit.
“I remember that nothing used to faze Shawn,” Perlman said. “He was incredibly competitive, a real leader, and he would compete with anybody. Jordan definitely has a lot of that same fire.”
The rest of this year’s seniors—the only team members to have played with both brothers—could not agree more.
“Having caught for both Shawn and Jordan, I never really saw either of them get too nervous or flustered,” captain Tyler Albright said. “You always knew when you put the ball in their hands, they were going to compete and give their best efforts to help the team.”
So, despite only appearing in three games this year, throwing one inning of one-hit as scoreless relief against Holy Cross, the promise to live up to high expectations is clearly withinHaviland’s reach.
But for the youngest Haviland, success in his family’s favorite game has little to do with meeting predictions, and more to do with keeping tradition.
“More than having any pressure to play well, there’s just always been a lot of support from my family to play the game,” Haviland remarked. “That’s what pushes me to try and keep up with my brother, to work hard in the offseason, and to just get better at playing baseball.”