It’s time to take another “trip” down memory lane with Flashback Friday! This week, we take a look back at one of Canada’s most beloved mascots, BJ Birdy.
BJ was the mascot for the Toronto Blue Jays for a total of 20 magical years, from 1979 to 1999. During that span, BJ touched countless lives with his lovable miming antics.
In 2000, in the midst of an image shift, the Blue Jays decided to take a new direction and unfortunately BJ Birdy did not survive the purge. BJ was run out of town by a couple of new feathered mascots, Ace and Diamond, and hasn’t been seen or heard of since. I have a feeling if we troll the bottom of Lake Ontario, we just might find the body of said mascot.
Or is there a possibility that BJ Birdy could still be out there under a different alias? I couldn’t help but notice that BJ very closely resembles another famous feathered mascot, Toucan Sam. You be the judge:
There was quite the controversy surrounding BJ Birdy’s exit. Faithful reader and commenter Andy Mc tells me that BJ Birdy and his human counterpart Kevin Shanahan were due for a raise to somewhere in the neighbourhood of $50,000 when the Blue Jays decided to give him and boot and go with a cheaper alternative in Ace
Some interesting facts about BJ Birdy: he was ejected from a game in 1993 for attempting to incite fans that a catch was made, when in fact umpire Jim McKean ruled a “no-catch”. And who says that mascots don’t have any importance on the game itself?
Apparently, those kind of BJ Birdy shenanigans weren’t isolated incidents. It was reported that BJ was involved with an altercation where he pantsed Ed Sprague during the middle of a game. It must have been a staged event, though the only ones who will ever know are Sprague and BJ Birdy.
BJ Birdy didn’t have the cult mascot following like the Phillie Phanatic or the San Diego Chicken, but from what I can recall, BJ did a great job of representing the Toronto Blue Jays.
BJ, wherever you are … we’ll always remember you as the original “Beej” in town.
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