15 Notable MLB Players Who Competed With Michael Jordan in the 1994 Southern League

Jordan Cohn
May 12, 2020 - 11:14 am

My primary takeaway from episodes seven and eight of "The Last Dance" was that Michael Jordan was on a separate tier of athletic ability than most anyone that I've ever watched.

One does not simply pick up a baseball bat for the first time in 15 years, after training and shaping his or her body for a career in another sport, and find success at a professional level. Sure, he may not have been phenomenal in the Minors, but we've heard from multiple sources, including longtime manager Terry Francona, that Jordan likely could have developed his game to the Major League level with more time. A 30-year-old basketball player, with zero professional experience or practice in baseball, delivered a 13-game-hitting streak against young budding prospects and older veterans who had been spending their whole entire lives attempting to get to this point.

It's insane.

And it's not like his competition was made up of slouches, either. Sure, the 1994 Southern League was predominantly made up players who never reached the Majors or were low-level players, but there were more than a few diamonds in the rough.

In fact, we've gone ahead and compiled a list of 15 guys who you should probably recognize -- and a few that you definitely will recognize -- that played in that same Southern League in that same 1994 season. If you still doubt that Jordan's baseball career was as impressive as it was, taking a look at some of his competition should make you appreciate his short stint in our national pastime a little bit more.

Players are sorted according to their career MLB WAR, via Baseball Reference.

Pokey Reese ended his Major League career as a member of the 2004 World Series champions. Photo credit Getty Images
Atlee Hammaker captured the ERA title in just his third season. Photo credit Getty Images
Doug Glanville quickly became the everyday centerfielder in Philly. Photo credit Getty Images
LaTroy Hawkins played for 11 MLB teams during his 21-year career. Photo credit Getty Images
Dave Righetti may have been the best relief pitcher in baseball in 1986. Photo credit Getty Images
Esteban Loiaza's peak came during his 2003-04 stint with the White Sox. Photo credit Getty Images
Jon Lieber was the ace of the Phillies for a short time in the mid-2000s. Photo credit Getty Images
Steve Sax, though known more for his offense, was capable of flashing the leather every so often. Photo credit Getty Images
Terry Pendleton emerged as a star once he was signed as a free agent by Atlanta. Photo credit Getty Images
Jason Schmidt reached his peak late in his career with the Giants. Photo credit Getty Images
Derek Lowe is one of the best closers-turned-starters that the league has ever seen. Photo credit Getty Images
Jason Kendall's speed made him an especially unique backstop. Photo credit Getty Images
Brad Radke spent his entire big league career with the Twins, starting in over 350 games over 12 seasons. Photo credit Getty Images
Jason Giambi won the 2000 AL MVP while playing for the Oakland A's. Photo credit Getty Images
Alex Rodriguez is one of six members of the 3,000-hit, 500-home run club. Photo credit Getty Images

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