The Athletic Reporter
September 12, 2005 Sports News the Way You Want It. Completely Made Up. Issue 127
Michael Jordan Comes Out of Retirement To Pitch For Houston Astros
Originally posted 1/19/2004

Michael Jordan, seen here coming out of retirement
HOUSTON - All-time great Michael Jordan surprised sports fans by coming out of retirement for a third time this week, signing a 1-year, $5 million contract with baseball's Houston Astros.

Jordan, who hasn't played baseball professionally since his 1994 stint with the Double A Birmingham Barons, will join Roy Oswalt, Wade Miller and the newly acquired Andy Pettitte in an already strong Astros starting rotation.

"This is a real thrill to be back in baseball," Jordan told reporters and fans during a Monday press conference at Houston's Minute Maid Park. "Besides, I can't believe anybody actually thought I'd stay retired this time."

Jordan has won six professional championships and two Olympic gold medals over the course of his career, though all in the sport of basketball.

Astros GM Gerry Hunsicker said that although Jordan had never pitched before, he would be a welcome addition to the Astros lineup. "A great competitor like Michael, you just know he'll do what it takes to win, whether it's shoving off Bryon Russell because he knows they'll never call it on him, or learning to pitch at the Major League level in just two months. Besides, the .202 batting average he had in 1994 wouldn't actually be that bad for a pitcher."

"This signing definitely makes the Astros the favorite in the National League Central," said ESPN baseball analyst Peter Gammons. "The Cubs could be tough again, but the rest of the division is relatively weak. There's been some talk that the Cardinals might try to sign Charles Barkley and Hakeem Olajuwon, but I don't expect anything to come of that."

"I can't wait to get back out there," Jordan said. "There are National League cities like Montreal, Cincinnati and San Diego whose strip clubs and back-alley gambling dens I didn't get a chance to sample during my NBA career because they didn't have teams."

Owner Drayton McLane told reporters that he expected great things from the Astros in 2004 after the team narrowly missed the playoffs last season. "We put this team together to win now," he said. "[Craig] Biggio and [Jeff] Bagwell aren't getting any younger, and we'd love to get a ring not only for them, but for everyone else who's supported us all this time. I realize that signing a 41-year-old future Hall of Famer like this is a risk, but I think we'll be happy we did."

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