On Sunday, you may have celebrated Michael Jordan’s 50th Birthday. That is, if you didn’t give up your usual celebratory things for lent, such as chocolate, white rice, and energy drinks (insert hat tip to anonymous friends).
But now you’re thinking: Michael Jordan?
Okay, Throwback Thursday. Relevant. I get it. The dude is getting old (apologies to people over fifty, yes you can still be awesome, just stop wearing Ed Hardy). And Michael Jordan is obviously a throwback, if not The Throwback, of the NBA.
Right, but isn’t this a baseball column?
Heck yes it is.
Which is why, need I remind you, Michael Jordan, His Airness, played baseball. Although not the highlight of his athletic career by any means, MJ played, not only for the NBA, but for the MLB.
In 1993, MJ announced his retirement from the NBA, and surprised fans by signing a minor-league contract with the Chicago White Sox. With a batting average of .202, he didn’t argue to be the best at the plate, but with a stature of 6’6″, Jordan stole his fair share of bases (30) and also put up 51 RBI.
In 1994, Jordan was brought up to the Major League level for a cross-town classic game against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field, which I imagine was up there for one of the most insane days in Chicago sports history. It goes without saying that everyone in the stands that day, Cubs and White Sox fans both, and probably every other American sports fan in that tuned in, was there to see Jordan play. MJ was greeted with a chorus of cheers during his every performance, not to mention, he was highlighted in the Budweiser play of the game.
Jordan bat sixth in the lineup and played right field, even penning a base hit RBI that drove in the Sox first run, and later ,with a double he tied up the game for the Sox. After ten innings, the game was called a tie with a score of 4-4.
But one season of basketball retirement playing baseball was enough for Air Jordan. He indeed returned to the court- to play for the Chicago Bulls once more- after his brief but memorable moments on the diamond.
Here is an excellent video of Jordan’s game with the White Sox, including MJ’s highlights and his pre-game interview with Harry Caray, brought to my attention by Christine of Aaron Miles Fastball:
Do you have a favorite baseball tradition? Is there a particular ghost of baseball past you would like to revisit? Ever wonder why they do what they do, and when they started doing it? If you have a suggestion, question, or submission for Throwback Thursday, contact Elise by tweeting @Elise_Myers.