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Ventura marveled at Jordan's athleticism

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- On the 20th anniversary of Michael Jordan's first Spring Training game with the White Sox, manager Robin Ventura -- a member of the 1994 White Sox -- reminisced about being there for the moment and the experience of playing with the NBA legend in Sarasota, Fla.

"It was a fun Spring Training," Ventura said. "Any time a guy like him that was as good as he was at a sport and then all of a sudden comes over to ours, it was fun for us."

In his only at-bat of the day that March afternoon, Jordan grounded out to Rangers pitcher Darren Oliver. He later played 127 games for Double-A Birmingham, batting .202 with 21 extra-base hits, 51 RBIs and 30 stolen bases before returning to the Chicago Bulls the next March.

"To come out of nowhere and pick it up again -- he was a good enough athlete," Ventura said. "Outfield-wise, defensively, he could still run it down and do it. Hitting was going to take a while."

Tyler Emerick is an associate reporter for
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