Remember when Michael Jordan attempted to play baseball back in 1994 shortly after retiring from the NBA? Of course you do. At the very least, you've heard about it, because it was of the few missteps that MJ took during his storied career. Or, was it?
According to Jordan's former Birmingham Barons manager Terry Francona, who now manages the Cleveland Indians, Jordan wasn't nearly as bad at baseball as you think he was. In fact, Francona recently told Yahoo! Sports writer Tim Brown that he thinks MJ could have been a major league baseball player if he'd stuck with the sport. And, he used to get upset when he heard people talking bad about Jordan's skills on the diamond, because he understood how much time and effort Jordan was putting into getting better.
"It was really kind of fashionable to be critical of him," Francona remembers. "That really bothered me. It was anything but. He was actually very refreshing. All the things you ask of young players, he did. He was never late for a bus. He stayed in the same hotels. It had all the makings of being a circus and it never happened. I would think for the very most part it was because of him."
So, was MJ actually better at baseball than we remember? Probably not. But, at the same time, no one ever really gave him the time to develop into anything. We all just expected him to start playing and turn into Ken Griffey Jr. overnight. It's probably for the best, though. Because, if he had continued going down that path and played baseball for a few more seasons, we probably wouldn't be having all of these MJ vs. LeBron James debates this week, now would we?
[via Yahoo! Sports]
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