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Today in White Sox History: March 10

Michael Jordan leaves baseball — but not for the reason you think

Major League Baseball Archive Rich Pilling/MLB Photos via Getty Images

1995

After two stints at White Sox spring training and a full season in Birmingham, Michael Jordan announced he was giving up baseball.

Part of the reason was because of his struggles with the game. But the other, larger part, as he explained to author Bob Greene in the book Rebound, The Odyssey of Michael Jordan was because he was being pressured by Sox GM Ron Schueler to cross the MLBPA picket line.

With replacement games set to start during the lockout of major leaguers, Jordan said he was told that if he didn’t cross the line, he’d be banished from the main clubhouse. Jordan was furious, saying that he was promised by owner Jerry Reinsdorf he wouldn’t have to take that step.

Jordan explained that under no circumstances would he ever cross a labor picket line regardless of sport, that the day would never come where he would be forced to be not a minor league prospect but a major league strikebreaker.

“I told them from the beginning that I didn’t want them to use me to make money in the spring training games,” Jordan told Greene. “We had an understanding. It was never supposed to even come up. I was disgusted that the promise wasn’t going to be honored.”

Jordan would return to the Bulls at the end of the 1994-95 season, and go on to win three more championships (1996-98).