SportsPulse: Former Chicago Bulls teammate B.J. Armstrong breaks down the first two episodes of “The Last Dance” and explains why Michael Jordan’s criticism of his teammates was only the “PG” version.


Michael Jordan’s foray into baseball lasted a season in the minor leagues but he might’ve had his chance in the majors if one general manager had his way.

When former Oakland A’s general manager Sandy Alderson was asked by ESPN’s Buster Olney on Tuesday’s “Baseball Tonight” podcast about a deal that came close to being completed in his career that the media never really found out about, he dropped a significant, and timely, bombshell.

“If you recall when Jordan stopped playing basketball and decided to try baseball and ultimately went down the Birmingham Barons — the Chicago White Sox affiliate,” said Anderson, 71. “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.”

Of course, that never happened as Jordan signed a minor-league deal in 1994 with the White Sox, who also happened to be owned by Jerry Reinsdorf, the owner of the Chicago Bulls, where Jordan won six titles.

Jordan returned to the NBA near the end of the 1994-95 regular season, playing six more years in his Hall of Fame career. Jordan’s legend status has again been talking point with the debut of the ESPN documentary, “The Last Dance,” which is chronicling his last season (1997-98) with the Bulls.

Alderson, who is now a senior adviser with the A’s and has spent about 40 years in baseball, went on to say that he was “totally serious” and Jordan’s agent, David Falk, “hemmed and hawed.” Alderson said somebody ultimately accused him of tampering. 

“It ended up creating some discussion because I ended up getting a phone call or a message from the White Sox saying, ‘Hey what is going on here? This guy is going to be part of the White Sox organization,’ ” Alderson said.

Alderson said that he didn’t know the exact role Jordan would’ve had, but the team, which went 68-94 in 1993, was going nowhere and he was interested in generating interest. Alderson spent 1983-97 as the A’s general manager in his first stint with the team.

Jordan played 127 games at Class AA, hitting .202 with three home runs, 51 RBI and 30 steals. 

If this type of situation sounds familiar, Alderson said it should. He was the New York Mets general manager who signed Tim Tebow into the organization. Tebow has spent three seasons in the Mets minor league system.

“Notwithstanding a bunch of criticism at the time and to some extent that still exists,” Alderson said, “but Tim I thought had more legitimate potential over time because he was committed to the sport as opposed to being a distraction from something else.”

Ultimately, Alderson said, baseball is fun.

“One of the great things about baseball is we all have to keep in mind is it’s entertainment,” Alderson said. “It’s a game. Let’s not get too carried away. Let’s not be super serious here.”


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