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Memphis Chicks v Birmingham Barons
On this day 29 years ago, Michael Jordan was assigned to Double-A Birmingham, where he would make his pro baseball debut.
Jim Gund/Getty Images

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Today in White Sox History: March 31

MJ gets his assignment


The White Sox swapped pitchers Adam Peterson and Steve Rosenberg to San Diego for Warren Newson, Joey Cora and minor-leaguer Kevin Garner. Cora played four seasons on the South Side, putting up 1.7 WAR in his one season as a regular, in 1993. Newson was a role player for four-plus seasons in Chicago, leading off with an impressive 0.8 WAR in just 160 PAs in 1991.

Peterson (-0.5 WAR) and Rosenberg (-0.4) did not impress with the Padres in 1991. For both, it would be their final year in the majors.


Michael Jordan, after his first Spring Training, is assigned to the Double-A Birmingham Barons of the Southern League. He would hit .202/.290/.266 in 127 games with 30 steals, 51 RBIs and 17 doubles. After the regular season, Jordan played in the Arizona Fall League, where he was more impressive, hitting .252. Without the 1994-95 labor stalemate, Jordan would have reported to Charlotte in 1995, with an outside shot at seeing the majors that year.


Because of a quirk in the calendar, the White Sox had a March Opening Day for the first time in franchise history, starting the season in Seattle on the final day of the month. Frank Thomas hit a home run off Randy Johnson, for the first March homer in MLB history. However, Seattle pitchers struck out 21 White Sox (Johnson getting 14 in seven innings of work), and Chicago lost the game, 3-2, in 12 innings.

The American League umpires also sported red polo shirts, marking the first time in 20 years they were allowed to wear some color on the field.

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