Flashback Friday

Flashback Friday: BJ Birdy


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.

If you have any suggestions you’d like to see on “Flashback Friday”, feel free to send them to bluejayhunter@gmail.com.

Ian has been writing about the Toronto Blue Jays since 2007. He enjoyed the tail-end of the Roy Halladay era and vividly remembers the Alex Rodriguez "mine" incident. He'll also retell the story of Game 5 of the 2015 ALDS to his kids for the next 20 years.

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  1. infieldfly

    February 26, 2010 - 3:41 pm

    Is Diamond still around or did he end up with BJ on the bottom of the lake?

  2. Ian H.

    February 26, 2010 - 4:05 pm

    My conspiracy theory is that Ace discovered that Diamond was fooling around with BJ Birdy, and subsequently Ace went nuts in a crime of passion and knocked off both BJ Birdy and Diamond.

  3. JMac55

    February 26, 2010 - 5:00 pm

    He's even my profile pic. What do you think Rogers would do if a petition began circulating to bring back BJ?

  4. Ian H.

    February 26, 2010 - 5:55 pm

    Probably nothing – I'm sure there was a petition when BJ Birdy first got canned, so over 10 years later I doubt anything would happen.

    But you never know … might be a good tie-in with Flashback Fridays!

  5. Steve

    February 26, 2010 - 6:19 pm

    I've been saying they should bring him back on Flashback Fridays!! It would be pretty cool!!

    I think what happened was thar the Jays did not own B.J. so they got rid of him and created thier own. The orignal Ace & Diamond were "hipper" with backward baseball hats and backpacks!

  6. Mattt

    February 26, 2010 - 6:52 pm

    $50 000 a season, almost twenty years ago, to be a mascot? Not bad at all.

  7. Andy Mc

    February 26, 2010 - 8:44 pm

    "I have a feeling if we troll the bottom of Lake Ontario, we just might find the body of said mascot."

    LMAO — I almost pissed myself laughing at this…

    Ace is a scab, and I tell him that when I see him. He is a fraud, liar and a cheat. It hurts to have to heckle my own team's mascot. It hurts a lot.


  8. Ian H.

    February 26, 2010 - 8:55 pm

    Steve, maybe instead one of the former Blue Jays receiving recognition on Flashback Friday, it should be BJ Birdy! Complete with a BJ Birdy stuffed animal giveaway. Hey, it could happen – the Blue Jays haven't even released their promotional days yet.

    Mattt, I'd take $50K to wear a smelly mascot costume and get kicked in the nuts by little kids any day.

    Andy, I bet Ace went home and cried himself to sleep after you called him a scab. We know it, he knows it, but he's just following orders …

  9. breanna.shanahan

    October 29, 2010 - 8:11 pm

    BJ birdie was created by my uncle Kevin. For those die hard fans who were wondering, he isn't at the bottom of any lake, but retired in Kevins basement waiting until the day the Jays may call on him again.

    1. Anonymous

      April 8, 2013 - 12:59 pm

      I have one of your uncle's BJ Birdy caps. I would like to put an accurate date as to when he sold these gems. I wear mine on opening and closing days every year. My e-mail is kaput so call me at 289-296-6569.

  10. Ian - BJH

    October 29, 2010 - 8:20 pm

    Breanna, good to hear BJ Birdie is alive and well. Hopefully he makes an appearance one day again!

  11. Anonymous

    January 20, 2012 - 7:37 pm

    I think it is amazing the Breanna commented on this story. I have many fond memories of BJ during the early days and wish he was still working with the club. He was a great mascot.

    1. Ian - BJH

      January 20, 2012 - 9:01 pm

      It was definitely pretty cool. Once in a while, I'm genuinely amazed by which people traverse this site and comment along the way. And a relative of BJ Birdy is definitely one of them!

  12. ME Room Cardinal Leger Catholic School

    April 12, 2012 - 1:03 am

    Well the logo pretty much went old-school, but with a sleeker looking bird and the uniforms are great. So maybe they might dust off the old carcass, chase off the moths and put life back into BJ Birdy.

  13. Anonymous

    August 12, 2012 - 6:55 pm

    Breanna, I have a few of your Uncle Kevin's original BJ "T" Shirt designs/Proofs. A company that I used to design for, inherited some of his original artwork/pre-production proofs, from Kidzone when it went defunct. They were going to be trashed, but I kept them. I think they're worth saving. Also, there are some Molson Ice Advert drawings. Very nice. Also packed up in Kidzone stuff. Sig on the bottom is E. Pacie. Anyone like to buy these items? Anyone know E. Pacie?Collectors??

  14. J Foster

    October 7, 2015 - 6:23 pm

    I for one still miss BJ Birdy. The new mascots they have running around may be more kid friendly but they are also just about as annoying as you can get. Kevin got the shaft for sure.

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