The Chicago White Sox had Michael Jordan and he was pretty good with the Birmingham Barons during the 1994 campaign as he retired from basketball.
By the end of the 1993 NBA Finals, Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan had enough. He retired from the game of basketball after three straight NBA Titles. He decided not long after, that he was going to play some baseball instead. His father had just passed away and it was the sport that the two of them bonded over in his earlier years. He ended up with the Chicago White Sox organization as a result of this decision.
It makes complete sense because the White Sox and the Bulls have the same owner, Jerry Reinsdorf. It all lined up perfectly for Michael to try baseball professionally in the city that he has become a legend in. The White Sox used him in Spring Training and had him with the Birmingham Barons by the time the regular season started.
He was on the team’s Spring Training card with players like Ray Durham, Ozzie Guillen, and Darrin Jackson. Jordan was invited as a non-roster player after working out at Comiskey Park in December of 1993 with White Sox trainer, Herm Schneider. His future as a baseball player was uncertain but he did give it everything he had once he was there.
He went to the Barons and had a pretty good season for them. He was a 31-year-old rookie so it is still debated to this day of he would have ever made it to the Major Leagues, but he showed himself well that year. In 127 games, he had 436 at-bats, a .202 batting average, 88 hits, three home runs, 50 RBIs, and 33 stolen bases. That is not bad production for someone who left another sport to try a new one in their 30s.
A cool little thing that might not be a well-known fact, is that Terry Francona was his manager in AA with the Barons. It wasn’t someone that nobody will know as Francona is one of the MLB’s best managers today. If there is ever someone to learn from, it would be him.
Jordan was a pretty good player with the Birmingham Barons, there is no doubt about it. What is true, is that baseball had a Major League strike which caused the White Sox to stop in the middle of an incredible season. Jordan would go back to basketball where he would win another three NBA Titles and truly claim the title as the greatest basketball player who ever lived. It is good to have him as a part of White Sox history, however.