Despite being in the prime of his career as a basketball player, Jordan chose to pursue this dream of playing professional baseball. His manager in Birmingham was none other than Terry Francona, who would later manager the Phillies and of course the Red Sox to their two World Series titles in 2004 and 2007. After managing his professional season in 1992 with the South Bend White Sox, Francona had led the 1993 Birmingham team to a first place finish. Jordan was given to Francona, and he played just about every day in right field for the Barons.
Jordan did not have the greatest season, hitting .202, 3, 51 with 30 steals in 127 games while striking out 114 times. It is worth noting that Jordan started out playing in AA, something few players make their debut it. Especially those who haven't played the game at any level in more than 10 years. Jordan dominated the NBA, but could not dominate on the baseball diamond. The question remains today: Did he waste his time playing baseball? Did he use the fact that he was Michael Jordan to get a chance that nobody else would have gotten? When he decided to hang it up after the 1994 season, a year marred by the MLB strike which ended the season without a World Series for the first time since 1904, it gave the perception that his attempts to play professional baseball was a failure.
In my opinion, it was not a failure. The problem Michael ran into was the fact that he was and is, a perfectionist. He won a National Title at North Carolina where he was very successful. With the Bulls, he became the best player in the game and won the 3 straight NBA Championships. The Birmingham team won the League Championship the year before. They didn't win the year Jordan was there. I think Jordan expected too much out of himself, therefore did not have the patience to re-learn the game. Over 10 years of being away is too much for anybody to pick the game up on a fly. If he was to be a successful baseball player, he needed to spend at least another season or two to determine whether he could handle it. I think he handled himself quite well during that season. Yes, attendance increased dramatically, but Jordan never got or asked for special treatment. He handled the whole thing like a pro. Though it may never be known if Jordan could have made the bigs, it is very safe to say he made the best decision for him returning to the game that he ruled.