Although Michael Jordan is best known for his accomplishments as a professional basketball player, he did also have a short baseball career. While Michael Jordan’s baseball career was not as successful as his basketball career, it is noteworthy because of Jordan’s ability to display a high level of skill in multiple sports.
Although Michael Jordan had a successful professional basketball career, the sport of baseball was his first love. In July of 1993, Jordan’s father was murdered, and Jordan retired in October of the same year to focus on family. The following year, Jordan signed a contract with the Chicago White Sox to pursue baseball full time.
Michael Jordan played his first game for the Birmingham Barons, a minor-league affiliate of the Chicago White Sox, on April 8, 1994. According to Sports Illustrated, the impact on the team was immediate, with Jordan’s fame fueling uncharacteristically high attendance numbers and minor league baseball highlights finding a prominent place on ESPN. Despite the notoriety, Jordan’s baseball career did not get off to a good start, going 0 for 3 at the plate, and the Barons lost 10-3.
Although Jordan was not immediately successful at baseball, his career with the Barons did have some highlights. Jordan hit his first home run for the Barons on July 30, 1994, nearly four months after joining the team. The home run came in Jordan’s 354th at-bat.
In 127 games for the Birmingham Barons, Jordan had 88 hits in 436 at-bats, earning a batting average of .202. Jordan finished the season with three home runs and 51 RBI. Jordan scored 46 runs and stole 30 bases in his only season playing baseball.
After his relatively unsuccessful season playing baseball, Jordan decided to return to the NBA. Jordan issued a press release on March 18, 1995, that stated simply, “I’m back,” and returned to the Chicago Bulls the next day.