In stark contrast to all Michael Jordan’s achievements on the basketball court, his short-lived baseball career is generally seen as a failure. After suddenly retiring from the NBA in 1993 after a third consecutive championship, Jordan played one season with Birmingham Barons, a Chicago White Sox Double-A affiliate, in an effort to fulfill his childhood dream of becoming a major league baseball player. He returned to the NBA in 1995, and then won three more titles.
Jordan’s baseball statistics aren’t good compared to other prospects at his level, but he shows a pretty big promise for someone who hasn’t played competitive baseball since high school. Don’t believe it. Just go to the 80 mph hitter and see how good your rate is. Jordan faced elite pitching, just two levels below the big league, and managed to reach more than 200 with three home runs in one full season.
Can Chicago bull legend ever made a major? Probably not. But his former team-mate and coach talked about his work ethic and the level of improvement of his brief stint on diamonds, confident that he could achieve his goals if he persisted with it. Here is a look back at the career of pro Jordan baseball, including its statistics, highlights and some telling quotes from those who watched the experiment.
1994 (127 matches)
Jordan’s baseball stats aren’t really surprising (at least not in a good way), but his speed immediately jumps off the page and 51 RBI in 127 matches are respected for someone who is out of layoffs for so long from playing. From the point of view of modern strength and percentage, Jordan fought hard – the percentage of .289 OBP and .266 percentage of slugging was terrible – but he increased the rate of blows to .252 in the Arizona Fall League before deciding to return to America. The NBA.
Michael Jordan baseball highlights
Perhaps the most memorable moment on Jordan’s field came in the spring of 1994, when he was wearing a White Sox uniform for an exhibition match against rival Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. Already with the single RBI under his belt, Jordan stepped to the plate at the end of the game and, tie the score. More impressive, the double came out of Chuck Crim, who founded in the majors for eight seasons. Even Wrigley’s faithful cannot help but support the legend of Chicago.
Jordan was three months into his professional baseball career before he launched his first home run. On July 30, 1994 (as you can see from the old school date in the bottom right of the rough video), he fastened a 2-0 fastball belt on the middle-left field fence against the Carolina Mudcats in the eighth inning, because it was the first of three career tripper. Kevin Rychel, who gave Jordan’s first homer, is the answer to many trivial questions. The home run came the day before Jordan’s 58th birthday.
“It still makes me emotional because I hope he is here to see it,” Jordan said after the match. “But I know he saw it.”
After adjusting his position at the beginning of his little league career for a better attack in fastballs, Jordan struggled when the pitcher began throwing him a stable diet for broken balls. “Damn, you’re a pitcher. What’s with this slider? How about the name of God you pressed this hard slider?” Very Jordan. So it was a big step forward in the Arizona Fall League, when Jordan, playing for the Scottsdale Scorpions, waited in this hanging arch ball and tied the triple to the left center plane. Another thing that clearly stands out is its speed, because it actually turns on the jet after circling the second base. Another interesting piece: Terry Francona, manager of the Cleveland Indians and former manager of the Boston Red Sox and Philadelphia Phillies, is Jordan’s coach with the Baron and Scorpions. You get some insights about his thoughts about Jordan in this clip.
At the beginning of his baseball career, Jordan showed off the clutch ability that we often see on the basketball court. Facing Huntsville Stars on April 28, 1994, Jordan scored two green light goals at the end of the match, which would eventually become the RBI winner of the match (the doubles present at 1:24 mark from the video below). You can see Jordan’s radiant smile as he stands on the second base after driving on the run.
Former teammate / coach about Jordan’s baseball potential
- “He has it all. Ability, talent, work ethic. He always respects what we do and considers his teammates … I think with 1,000 at-bats, he will definitely succeed.” – Terry Francona, former manager of the Birmingham Barons
- “He hasn’t played since high school, and he holds himself in Double-A, which is full of prospects. In August, regular flying balls in [batting practice] start out. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen anything as beautiful on a baseball field when Michael Jordan hits the ball in the gap and advances to third for a triple. Two more seasons, he will be an extra legitimate outside player for the White Sox, maybe even a starter. “- Mike Barnett, former Birmingham Barons batting coach
- “I pride myself on my work ethic and go to the field and do work, and you can’t beat him to the field. He was there, taking batting practice before batting practice. We will play our game, and he is the last there, finished with Mike Barnett, the coach hitting us. I’m sitting here thinking, from the point of view of dollars and cents, this person doesn’t need to work this hard. “-
- “If everyone is like M.J., the game will be better.” – Walt Hriniak, a former White Sox coach, struck
- “Michael can’t really play baseball, but he’s not terrible. He has no strength. His defense is far below average. He can’t throw. His baseball instincts are bad. But he can run a little and can hit a little. Considering he isn’t had played baseball for years, it was incredible he could survive here. He wasn’t a prospect for me. But he might play in the big league. You could make him a 25th player. Why not? ” –
- “We see how good he is, and we are investing to make it better.” – Kenny Coleman, former Birmingham Barons infielder
- “On a scale of 20 to 80, the throwing arm changed from 20 in spring training to 50 in August.” – Mike Barnett, former Birmingham Barons batting coach
- “With him with him every day for six months, and knowing how much work he does in it … I don’t think it’s too hard to see him in a big league uniform.” –
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