All things considered, Michael Jordan was actually not that bad of a baseball player when he traded in the hardcourt for the diamond.
Michael Jordan is arguably the greatest basketball player to ever grace the court in the history of the game. However, for a short time in 1994, Air Jordan attempted to live out his dream on the diamond with the Chicago White Sox. The basketball star stepped away from the game following his father’s murder in the summer of 1993, it is said his father always hoped he would be a major league ballplayer.
In what many deemed as a public relations stunt the White Sox signed Michael Jordan to a minor league contract and assigned him to Double-A Birmingham for the 1994 season. At the time the Barons were managed than none other than Terry Francona.
Jordan was 31 years of age when he began his journey as a two-sport star in the Southern League. He would play 127 games for the Barons hitting .202/.289/.266 with 17 doubles, three homers, 51 runs batted in and 30 stolen bases in 48 attempts.
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On the defensive side, Jordan played outfield making 11 errors along with six assists in 230 chances. He sported a .952 fielding percentage along with 213 putouts while patrolling the outfield for the Barons.
Not too shabby for a guy that hadn’t played baseball since he was a teenager and stepped right into Double-A cold turkey. He was also 31 with nine-years worth of wear and tear on him from the NBA and was still heralded for his work ethic and respect for the game.
In 1994, the Blue Jays Double-A affiliate was the Knoxville Smokies managed by former player Garth Iorg. The Smokies would have had the opportunity of suiting up versus “His Airness” during his lone season in the minors. Some players on that squad included Rich Butler, Tilson Brito, and Paul Spoljaric.
Jordan would return to basketball the following season but he undoubtedly left his mark on the game. He surely could have played in the majors had he attempted his quest for the majors a decade earlier.