A look back at MJ’s time in the Southern League
MICHAEL JORDAN’S SEASON WITH BIRMINGHAM
- Wore No. 45 for the Barons, the number he wore for his Laney (NC) High School baseball team.
- Assigned to the Barons roster March 31, 1994, setting of a frenzy of interest never before seen in minor league history.
- Jordan joined the Barons April 8 after playing in the Windy City Classic exhibition game April 7 for the White Sox against the Cubs, where he was 2-5 with 2 RBI … started in right field in 1st official pro game for the Barons against Chattanooga … flew out in first at-bat vs. John Courtright and went 0-3 in front of 10,359 fans and 130 members of the national and international media.
- Collected first hit (8th at-bat) off Joe Ganote of Knoxville, a single in the 3rd inning April 10 at the Hoover Met (now known as Regions Park) … the 2-hit day started a 13-game hit streak from April 10-26 (.378, 17-45).
- Drove in 1st run, a bases loaded single which scored Steve Sax, and stole 1st base April 11 vs. Knoxville.
- The JordanCruiser made its debut April 14 as the bus took the Barons to Chattanooga for the first road trip of the season … contrary to popular belief, Jordan did NOT buy the bus, but his likeness did.
- Drove in first of seven game-winning runs on the season April 28 at Huntsville with a 7th-inning double … it broke a 4-4 tie and gave the Barons a 9-4 win.
- Ended one of the wildest finishes in club history on July 6 … Barons were no-hit by Huntsville’s Steve Wojciechowski through 8 innings … Barons rallied in the 9th and pulled within 5-3 with the bases loaded and 2 out … Jordan hit a grounder to third, which was thrown away into right field, clearing the bases for a 6-5 win.
In baseball, everyone starts at zero.
Michael Jordan stepped into the box for his third professional game on April 10, 1994. He had three NBA MVPs and three championship rings to his name, but he also had a .000 average.
Nowadays, sports fans look upon Michael Jordan’s foray into baseball as a whim, and when they look up his numbers and see that he batted .202, they conclude that his baseball career was a bust. They could not be more wrong.
In February 1994, four months after the first of his three retirements from the NBA, Michael Jordan signed a minor league contract with the Chicago White Sox. Jordan had last played baseball as a high school senior in 1981. His father, James, who was murdered the previous summer, had always wanted Jordan to be a baseball player. “You tell me I can’t do something,” Jordan said, “and I’m going to do it.”
Team: Birmingham Barons
MLB affiliate: Chicago White Sox
Born: Febr. 17, 1963, Brooklyn, N.Y.
Recommended/Signed By: Ron Schueler (White Sox)
How Obtained: Signed as a free agent by the White Sox, Feb. 7, 1994
Retired from baseball: March 10, 1995