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    1994 Michael Jordan Game Worn Birmingham Barons Air Jordan Cleats. There are two nearly universally-held opinions about Michael Jordan--he was the greatest basketball player of all time, and his aspirations to become a Major League Baseball player were a silly delusion. However, only the first of those two contentions is accurate. While it's historical fact that His Airness never actually did make it all the way to "The Show," some pretty serious experts believed that path was blocked not by a lack of ability but rather by Jordan's return to his native hardcourt home.

    "He had it all--ability, aptitude, work ethic," explained Terry Francona, Jordan's manager with the Barons who would himself find his way to the Bigs, and even World Championship glory, in the years to come. "He was always so respectful of what we were doing and considerate of his teammates...I do think with another 1,000 at-bats, he would have made it." The Oakland A's actually offered Jordan a spot on their twenty-five-man roster, but Jordan refused, intent upon earning his way upwards rather than accepting an artificial boost from his global fame.

    This pair of cleats from Jordan's brief flirtation with our national pastime is the absolute earliest format from his time on the diamond, a fact we can confirm by Googling a "May 8, 2020" NBC Sports Chicago article entitled "Michael Jordan's switch to baseball cost White Sox pitcher his jersey number."

    The legendary hoopster is quoted in the article insisting that this was no prima donna move, that the designation of the number "45" he'd wear throughout his time with the Birmingham Barons came without his knowledge: "I didn't know it was his number," Jordan said of pitcher Scott Ruffcorn. "They gave me the number. I wanted double zero, and then they gave me 45."

    So, Mr. Ruffcorn, if you're out there, here's the proof that MJ was telling the truth. These ultra-rare cleats are identical to those you see in virtually every baseball game image of the Basketball Hall of Famer but for the double-zero embroidered at each heel beneath the classic (but unusual for baseball) "Jumpman" logo. The bizarre tagging at interior tongue--one properly tagged size "13.5" and the other clearly mislabeled at size "7"--assure these are no retail models, and Nike was making baseball cleats only for Jordan at this time anyhow.

    Wear is solid despite the unexpected number change. Frankly, we wish Jordan could have kept the double-zeroes for his baseball gamers, but the fact he didn't makes these shoes a particularly notable rarity. LOA from Heritage Auctions.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    October, 2020
    3rd Saturday
    Internet/Mail Bids: 24
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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