We care a whole lot more these days about Michael Jordan’s final NBA title than we do that season he hit .202 in Double-A for the White Sox. With “The Last Dance” documentary being the trendiest thing in sports right now, all things Jordan are cool again. Including, apparently, “what ifs” about his baseball career.
Sandy Alderson, the longtime baseball exec, revealed this week that he tried to sign Michael Jordan to a contract with the Oakland A’s in 1994 before MJ opted to join the White Sox. Notably, though, Alderson told ESPN’s Buster Olney that he was prepared to put Jordan on the A’s 25-man roster and let him play in the big leagues.
Alderson dropped this on Olney’s “Baseball Tonight” podcast:
“When I heard that was happening — or about to happen — I called the agent right away and said, ‘Hey look, I understand he may be going to Double-A. I don’t even know who the 25th man is on our major league team right now. I will sign him and put him on the major league roster. He’ll be part of our 25-man team. Tomorrow.”
This didn’t happen, of course. The Chicago pull was too strong. Jerry Reinsdorf, the Bulls’ owner, also owns the White Sox. Jordan going from the Bulls to the Sox just made too much sense.
We all know what happened next: Jordan had a .556 OPS for the Birmingham Barons, which is not great. He did steal 30 bases and eventually made fun of the whole thing a bit in “Space Jam.” The fact that he went on to win three more titles with the Bulls makes Jordan’s baseball adventure more like a bizarre tangent than anything else.
As for the A’s? Well, Jordan in the big leagues probably would have sold some tickets. Seeing MJ play in the same outfield as Rickey Henderson would have been special too. But given what we saw in Double-A, it was probably for the best that His Airness didn’t get a spot on a big-league roster.
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