Imagine this: Michael Jordan, A’s outfielder.
Well, it could have happened.
Former A's general manager Sandy Alderson told ESPN’s Buster Olney on the Baseball Tonight podcast that he tried to sign Jordan to Oakland in 1994 when the NBA legend stopped playing basketball to pursue a baseball career.
"You recall when Jordan stopped playing basketball and decided to try baseball, and ultimately went down to the Birmingham Barons -- the Chicago White Sox [Double-A] affiliate,” Alderson said. “When I heard that was happening, or about to happen, I called his 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.' "
It appeared to work initially, or at least be on the verge of something …
"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 told Olney.
MJ played in 127 games with the Barons that season, hitting .202/.289/.266 with three home runs, 51 RBI and 30 stolen bases.
Although that one season with the Barons was the extent of Jordan's baseball career, knowing the A’s would have given up that final roster spot -- on the major league team, no less -- for the best basketball player in the history of the game makes us dream of the possibilities.
Imagine him roaming the outfield with Rickey Henderson. Two GOATs just stealing base after base at every chance they got. Could you imagine the promotional nights?
“It never came to fruition, but I was totally serious,” Alderson added as he talked about “the one that got away.”
Oh, what could have been.