Birmingham wants Jackson, but so do other Chicago farms

August 21, 1991

Birmingham loves Bo and the Class AA Barons hope Jackson returns home to play for them before moving up to the Chicago White Sox, the general manager of the farm club said yesterday.

Jackson has been pronounced fit to return to baseball and will undergo minor league rehabilitation at a Chicago White Sox farm club to be announced on Wednesday. White Sox officials refused yesterday to comment on where Jackson will go.

"I'd love to have him," said Joe Scrivner, general manager of the White Sox's Birmingham Barons affiliate.

Jackson has a house in Birmingham, and Scrivner said there are many other reasons for Jackson to go there.

"This is one of the best parks in the country, his doctor is here, his friends and family are here," said Scrivner, whose team plays in a 10,000-seat park. "He grew up outside Birmingham and went to Auburn about two hours away."

Scrivner said he doesn't know if Jackson is coming to the team and hasn't talked to the Baron players or coaches about the possibility.

"But I think he'd be welcomed by them," he said. "It would be kind of neat if I was young guy; it would be great playing beside as great a player as Bo Jackson."

The outfielder-running back injured his left hip on Jan. 13 in the NFL playoffs for the Los Angeles Raiders. Jackson was released in March by the Kansas City Royals, who deemed the injury PTC career threatening. He was then signed by the White Sox.

Dr. James Andrews, Jackson's Birmingham physician, flew to Chicago on Monday for Jackson's monthly checkup, and he and the White Sox medical staff, led by Dr. James Boscardin, agreed Jackson was healthy enough to play.

Since Jackson sustained what was diagnosed as vascular necrosis of the left hip, he has undergone daily treatment and spent several months on crutches.

Jackson has been participating in normal pregame drills and batting practice with the White Sox since mid-July.

"He's made great strides and it would be nice to get him back," Torborg said Monday. "He's a great athlete."

Besides the Barons, two Class A affiliates -- South Bend in Indiana and Sarasota in Florida -- have been mentioned for the Jackson rehab.

"It would be great to have him here. It would be exciting and give us a big boost in audience," said Sarasota White Sox general manager John Browne. "If he comes here it would probably be for the facilities we have. It's the club's spring training site, and we have major-league facilities."

South Bend has the advantage of being close to Chicago.

White Sox spokesman Doug Abel refused yesterday to discuss where to send Jackson.

Wherever he goes, Jackson is expected to pack the ballpark.

"Oh, man, you're not kidding. He'd help us enormously," said Scrivner, whose Barons won the first half of the Southern League season but are currently in last.

Jackson probably won't be in the minors for long. He has to be activated by Aug. 31 to be eligible for the playoffs and the White Sox are 3 1/2 games behind Minnesota in the AL West.

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