2021 SUMMER PREMIER AUCTION

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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 7/9/2021

Outside his NBA Finals game-worn pieces, the most sought after (and much scarcer) items from Michael Jordan’s career are those pertaining to his brief stint in professional baseball.

In one of the most shocking moments in modern sports, Michael Jordan abruptly retired from the NBA in 1993 and announced he was pursuing his “first love,” baseball. Indeed, it was Jordan’s father James who pushed his son to be a major league ballplayer, and it was his father’s death in July 1993 that shaped his decision to seriously pursue the National Pastime. Jordan signed a minor league contract with the Chicago White Sox and reported to spring training along with all the other hopefuls trying to find a place in the Sox’ organization. The White Sox assigned Jordan to the Birmingham Barons, their Double-A affiliate. His presence on the Barons boosted attendance and spurred a lucrative merchandise sales boon for the team, his number 45 replica jerseys are available in the team store to this day. During the 1994 season, the 31-year-old rookie hit .202 with 3 home runs, 51 RBI and 30 stolen bases. Not Jordan-esque NBA numbers, but not bad when you realize that he was a 30-something trying to find his footing in a sport he hadn’t played for over a decade and at a Double-A level. That fall Jordan continued with the Scottsdale Scorpions in the Arizona Fall League, batting a credible .252 against the game’s top prospects. He likely would have continued with baseball had it not been for the 1995 MLB strike. On March 18, Jordan released the iconic 2-word press release, “I’m back” and restarted his NBA career the next day.

Because Jordan only spent a single season playing pro ball, memorabilia from this period is extremely scarce. And while several home and away game worn Jordan Birmingham Barons jerseys are known to exist, this one stands out as it is the black special alternate version. The Black jersey has “Barons” across the front in white tackle twill script and Jordan’s number “45” on the back, also in white tackle twill. The Wilson size 48 label is sewn inside the collar. This piece is all the more noteworthy due to the presence of Michael Jordan’s signature on the “4” on the back of the jersey. The bold, black Sharpie signature stands out against the white tackle twill of the number. Adding to the desirability of this jersey is the letter of provenance from George Koehler, the original owner of the jersey who received it direct from Jordan himself. The jersey comes with a perfect A10 graded LOA from MEARS and a LOA from Beckett for the signature.

ESTIMATE: $30,000+

Bidding
Current Bidding (Reserve Has Been Met)
Minimum Bid: $5,000
Final prices include buyers premium.: $30,343
Number Bids: 13
Auction closed on Friday, July 9, 2021.
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