Athletics

How A's tried to convince Michael Jordan to join MLB roster in 1994

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NBC Sports Bay Area

How A's tried to convince Michael Jordan to join MLB roster in 1994

Imagine this: Michael Jordan, A’s outfielder.

Well, it could have happened.

No, seriously. 

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?

[RELATED: Reggie Jackson says 1970's A's dynasty better than Yankees]

“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.

Edwin Jackson feels he's been denied MLB roster spots for being Black

Edwin Jackson feels he's been denied MLB roster spots for being Black

Edwin Jackson understands the fragile nature of being a Black player in Major League Baseball.

The former A's pitcher -- who also has suited up for 13 other franchises across the league -- believes he has been denied jobs on MLB pitching staffs due to the color of his skin.

[RACE IN AMERICA: Listen to the latest episode]

"Being on the bubble, a bubble player, where it's maybe myself and a white player, and myself not getting a job because I'm black," Jackson told NBC Sports Bay Area's Monte Poole on the July 3 episode of "Race In America: A Candid Conversation." "I've been in the office before where, I've been told that I needed to go back and work on my slider, I'm like 'My slider? That's what I came up on.' If you told me I need to go work on a changeup, then at least it wouldn't have been a slap in my face.

"You tell me I need to go work on my slider, and that's a better pitch for me than my fastball, it's clear and evident why I'm going back to triple-A."

[RELATED: Colin Kaepernick, Nate Boyer helped enact real change with discussion]

Jackson signed a minor-league contract with the A's in 2018, and ended up going 6-3 with a 3.33 ERA over 17 starts for Oakland after being called up on June 25. He was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays in May of 2019.

You can hear the latest episode of "Race In America: A Candid Conversation" in the podcast player above and see previous episodes here.

Dave Kaval trolls reporter's Coliseum take with A's new ballpark picture

Dave Kaval trolls reporter's Coliseum take with A's new ballpark picture

The A's have plans to build their new stadium at the Howard Terminal site in downtown Oakland in 2023, but an A's spokesperson admitted recently that those plans might be delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The San Francisco Chronicle's Scott Ostler published an article with the notion that during the current delay in sports, it’s time for the A's to make a ballpark announcement -- but at the Oakland Coliseum's current site. Reporter Bruce Jenkins said in his tweet promoting the article, it would “be cool.”

A's president Dave Kaval responded in jest with photos of the plan at Jack London Square:

To Ostler and Jenkins’ justification, MLB has been facing hurdle after hurdle during the beginning of Summer Camp, or the second wind of spring training, whatever you want to call it. So now could be a good time for some positive news on a potential new ballpark.

But Kaval is more than doubling down on the Howard Terminal site.

In addition to ensuring the correct safety protocols and procedures around the league, teams around the league faced delays in testing for position players. 

The A’s are just one of several teams to cancel recent workouts joining the Los Angeles Angels, Houston Astros and Washington Nationals who also are waiting on results from the lab in Salt Lake City. A’s general manager David Forst was a bit more outspoken about the situation, and rightfully so.

While it’s fair to see MLB commissioner Rob Manfred experiment during a shortened, 60-game season, we will see how the players ultimately feel about it.

Until then, Kaval doesn’t appear to be too worried despite a long list of legal actions. The team’s goal to build this waterfront ballpark at Howard Terminal still remains intact.

[RELATED: Kaval trolls Giants fans over cardboard cutouts]

Just a couple of weeks ago, the Oakland City Council reversed course and voted to actually allow negotiations to start for the sale of the city’s half of the Coliseum site to the A’s.

The coronavirus pandemic that rocked sports will certainly cause an impact on the future of where the A’s will ultimately play, but there is still momentum working in the team’s favor.