Jordan had last played baseball as a high school senior in 1981. His father, James, who was murdered the previous summer in 1993, had always wanted Jordan to be a baseball player. "You tell me I can't do something," Jordan said, "and I'm going to do it."
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A 13-year-old Michael Jordan poses at the Mickey Owen Baseball School in 1976.
3 of 23Robert Sullivan/AFP/Getty Images
With a 13-year hole in his baseball resume, Jordan worked very hard, arriving at the park at 6:30 a.m. for sessions with hitting coach Walt Hriniak and not leaving until sunset.
4 of 23Al Bello/Getty Images
Michael Jordan throws the ball during his first outdoor public workout with the Chicago White Sox in Sarasota, Fla., on Feb. 15, 1994.
5 of 23John Iacono/SI
Michael Jordan commits an error in right field during a spring game with the Chicago White Sox in March 1994.
6 of 23Chuck Solomon/SI
Michael Jordan looks to bunt in a spring training game.
7 of 23John Iacono/SI
During spring training, Jordan referred to an umpire as "the ref."
8 of 23John Iacono/SI
In taking stock of Jordan's performance early in spring training, SI's Steve Wulf wrote, "Michael Jordan has no more business patrolling right field in Comiskey Park than Minnie Minoso has bringing the ball upcourt for the Chicago Bulls."
9 of 23Mark Elias/AP
Harry Caray interviews Michael Jordan before the start of the 10th annual Crosstown Classic charity game between the White Sox and Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on April 7, 1994.
10 of 23Patrick Murphy-Racey/SI
The 31-year-old Jordan spent the 1994 season playing for the Double A Birmingham Barons under manager Terry Francona. "Nobody has outworked him," Francona said. "He has the same goal as the other 23 players here. He just wants to get to the big leagues."
11 of 23Jim Gund/Icon SMI
Jordan committed 11 errors and had six outfield assists for the Barons, who used him primarily in right field.
12 of 23Cliff Welch/Icon SMI
The 6-foot-6 Jordan struck out 114 times in 436 at-bats for Birmingham.
13 of 23AP
Jordan was one of only six Double A players to finish with 30 stolen bases and 50 RBIs. But he hit only .202 with three home runs in 127 games.
14 of 23Cliff Welch/Icon SMI
In Aug. 1994, near the end of the baseball season, Jordan defended his two-sport stab: "What I've done is give inspiration to people. Believe in what you believe in and make an attempt at it; don't give up before you even try. ... For all the criticism I've received for doing what I'm doing, it's only an opportunity that I've taken advantage of. If you're given an opportunity to take advantage of something you truly love and dream about, do it."
15 of 23Chris O'Meara/AP
Michael Jordan gets help stretching his arm from fellow outfielder Mike Cameron during the first day of the White Sox Instructional League workouts in Sarasota, Fla., on Sept. 23, 1994.
16 of 23V.J. Lovero/SI
After his season with the Barons, Jordan reported to the Scottsdale Scorpions of the Arizona Fall League.
17 of 23V.J. Lovero/SI
In the Arizona Fall League, Jordan was competing with some of the top prospects in baseball, including Scottsdale teammate Nomar Garciaparra.
18 of 23V.J. Lovero/SI
Michael Jordan play fights with a teammate during practice.
19 of 23V.J. Lovero/SI
Jordan throws the ball while playing outfield for the Scottsdale Scorpions.
20 of 23V.J. Lovero/SI
Jordan looks to avoid a pick-off at first base while playing for the Scottsdale Scorpions.
21 of 23V.J. Lovero/SI
Jordan hit .252 with the Scottsdale Scorpions and called himself the team's "worst player."
22 of 23AP
Michael Jordan appears with filmmaker Spike Lee in a Nike ad that never saw the airwaves. Nike decided not to air the ad after Jordan announced his retirement from baseball on March 10, 1995.
23 of 23Cliff Welch/Icon SMI
Try as he might, Michael Jordan found baseball beyond his grasp.
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