words // Zack Schlemmer

The 2014 MLB season is officially underway, and this weekend sees the release of the Air Jordan "Barons" pack, featuring the Air Jordan 9 and Air Jordan 1 Retros in colorways inspired by Michael Jordan's brief baseball career, so we figured there would be no better time to Flashback to MJ wearing his PE Air Jordan IX cleats from his time spent in the minor leagues.

After his shocking retirement from the game of basketball after the 1992-93 season, Jordan signed a minor league baseball contract with the Chicago White Sox in February of 1994 in honor of his recently murdered father who had always wanted to see him play baseball. Going from the best player in the NBA to a minor league baseball player who arguably didnt even deserve a spot on the roster was not the easiest mission for MJ, but at least he did it in style, wearing an Air Jordan IX cleat during his games with the Birmingham Barons and Scottsdale Scorpions in the 1994 summer and fall leagues, respectively.

The Air Jordan IX cleat Michael wore featured a black leather and nubuck upper with accents in white for a clean and simple look. At the heel in place of the usual embroidered #23 was his baseball number, 45. If you look closely you'll notice MJ had two different versions of the PE cleat, one with a full-length molded plastic sole and later, a metal-cleated version with a visible Air unit in the heel.

As Jordan Brand brings out the Air Jordan 1 and 9 in Barons colorways this weekend, let's first take a look at the source of inspiration for the pack with vintage images of Michael during his baseball career.

 



Michael's baseball experiment was controversial to some baseball purists, who felt he was tarnishing the sport.

 

MJ's cleats even made it onto his baseball card.

 

Michael spotted in a low top Nike baseball cleat.

 

Michael in a Nike baseball turf trainer.