Steve Sax Reflects On Michael Jordan's Baseball Career

There's no denying Jordan's best sport, but what if he had played baseball his entire life?

Tiki and Tierney
May 11, 2020 - 6:11 pm

In 127 games with the Birmingham Barons, Michael Jordan hit .202 with 17 doubles, 51 RBIs, and 114 strikeouts. 

Are those Hall of Fame numbers? No. But are they awful? Also no. Remember: Jordan didn't play competitive baseball from the time he graduated high school until the age of 30. He also stole 30 bases in 48 attempts (.625).

Had he stayed in baseball, would he have ultimately figured things out and put it all together?

“Look, I think if he would have played his whole life, who knows? He was that good of an athlete,” former MLB player and coach Steve Sax said on Tiki & Tierney. “I can tell you this: he could steal bases in the big leagues from day one. I saw him in a couple of big league games, I was watching his break from first base – the first step is the most important one – and his instincts on the base paths were good. He was already a guy that could be an accomplished base-stealer in the big leagues, I thought.”

“But everything else, it’s hard to say,” Sax continued. “It’s hard to say. Right then and there, from the examples we have from the time he played, no, there was no way he was going to compete at that level. But had he played his whole life – did he have some of the tools? Yeah, I think so.”

Sax remembers showing up for spring training that season. Ted Koppel was there to interview MJ.

“They’re doing the extensive exposes on Michael Jordan, and I thought, ‘Man, this thing is going to be a circus,’” Sax said. “But being the great guy that Michael Jordan is, he didn’t make it a circus. He did a lot of his interviews away from the locker room, and he was such a classy guy. I just really liked being around him. But he didn’t make it a circus. It could have been, but Michael didn’t want it that way.”