Let's celebrate Danny Ainge, a man who was simultaneously an NCAA hero and MLBer
Most people know Danny Ainge, who celebrated his 58th birthday on Friday, for his stellar basketball career. He played 15 seasons in the NBA, most notably with the Celtics, where he won two championships. He's currently the GM and president of basketball operations for the team.
In the college basketball world, he was a superstar. The BYU guard was an All-American and Wooden Award winner. He also hit one of the greatest shots in March Madness history to upset heavily-favored Notre Dame in 1981:
BYU advanced to the regional final where they lost to UVA.
What most people may not know, though, is that during his time at BYU, Ainge was also a Toronto Blue Jay. The team drafted him in the 1977 Amateur Draft and the super utility-man (2B, 3B, SS, CF, RF, LF, DH) played in 211 games between 1979-81. (Why a 6-foot-5 person played nearly every position except first base is strange, I know).
Ainge hit two home runs during his short career -- both in '79 -- and his first made him the youngest to do so in Blue Jays history (20 years, 77 days). He also made some nice snags like this one in the infield, just a couple months after his historic shot in the NCAA tournament. Not a bad year for Danny.
So, happy birthday to you, Mr. Ainge. You looked great on the basketball court, but maybe even better during Blue Jay photo day in the early 1980s.