did larry bird play baseball

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“I could do that. “I could play baseball,” the Terra Haute native volunteered. Warn accepted and had him suit up for a non-conference game against Western Kentucky. After Bird played just one game of college baseball, Warn said of him, “He plays the game (of baseball) just as he does basketball, with every ounce he has.”

Although it may not come as a huge surprise to fans of the Hall of Fame Boston Celtics forward Larry Bird, the Hick From French Lick gave college baseball a real old college try while attending Indiana University. Bob Warn, the head coach of Indiana baseball, would tease Bird when he visited the school’s athletic recovery facility. One day, Bird had had enough of Warn’s jokes when the coach told him that “real men play with balls this size,” according to SB Nation’s James Dator.

It’s not like the Celtics supporters would have preferred to have him on their court for a second less than he did.

Larry Legend’s (very brief) record of 1-of-2, 2 RBIs, and 9 putouts from first base suggests that, had he really wanted to, he very well could have been a multi-sport athlete.

“He’s very intense,” added Warn. Before the game, he was saying to one of the players that all he wanted was to perform well and not let the team down. ”.

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While everyone is aware of Michael Jordan’s decision to quit the Bulls and play baseball, it was Larry Bird who gave the sport a try on April 28, 1979, and went on to become a one-day legend in the process. The majority of that tale has been lost to time, but even better, he accomplished it primarily out of dare

By spring 1979, Bird’s reputation as an Indiana sports legend had been established. The Indiana State small forward had just guided his team to a 33-1 campaign, with Magic Johnson and Michigan State being the only losses. Even though it was widely acknowledged that Bird was destined for greatness in the NBA, Bob Warn, the baseball coach at Indiana State, continued to make fun of him. It started off as lighthearted jabs at Bird’s habit of spending most of his leisure time in the ISU training room receiving massages and ice packs. Then, one day, Warn threw down the gauntlet when Bird picked up a baseball, calling him a “wuss” for his seemingly never-ending postgame recovery.

“This is the size of the balls that real men play with,” Warn scowled at Bird. It was just Warn’s usual teasing at its most intense, but Bird was ready to make a point because she had had enough. “I could do that. I could play baseball,” Bird answered, surprising the coach.

This would have been a convenient place for the story to end, with plenty of trash talk and not much else. But Bird, ever the competitor, wanted to prove a point. And Warn was willing to give Bird the opportunity to humiliate himself because he was adamant that he would look ridiculous on a baseball field.

The two agreed that the upcoming non-conference doubleheader against Kentucky Wesleyan presented the ideal low-risk chance to put Bird in a baseball uniform. Because the team’s gear was too small for Bird’s 6’9 frame, they found the longest pair of pants they could find, got the biggest hat on campus, and watched as one of the greatest basketball players of all time strode onto the court. There are very few images from the game, but it would have been incredible to witness in person.

Mike Hayes, a Kentucky Wesleyan player, recounted the game, vividly remembering Bird’s bizarre, ungainly swing.

“He definitely had a softball swing,” Hayes recalled. “It looked almost like a straight uppercut. Pitchers should have had a field day with the enormous strike zone, but they quickly realized Bird wasn’t there to play around. He was there to prove a point.

Bird had the same intensity on the baseball field as he did on the court, according to Warn:

“He gives the game everything he has, just like he gives his all to basketball.” He’s very intense. Before the game, he was saying to one of the players that all he wanted was to perform well and not let the team down. ”.

Bird didn’t let the team down. Far from it. He had gone 1-for-2 with two RBIs and recorded nine putouts from first base in the second game of the doubleheader when it was all over. Not only did Bird perform, but he also amazed everyone in attendance that day.

The . 500 batting average is still among the best ever recorded by a player for the team in the Indiana State history books. Regarding Larry Bird’s brief baseball career, not much is available, but those who witnessed it will never forget it. For a brief moment, Bird had the opportunity to demonstrate that he was more than just a basketball player warming up in the locker room; he could excel at anything he set his mind to.

Before leaving the field that day, Bird signed autographs for the Kentucky Wesleyan players and the spectators. He signed an NBA contract with the Boston Celtics two months later. And the rest is history.


What position did Larry Bird play in baseball at Indiana State?

Bird’s status as an Indiana sports legend was cemented by the spring of 1979. The small forward had just led Indiana State to a 33-1 season, with the team’s sole loss coming to Magic Johnson and Michigan State.

How athletic was Larry Bird?

Despite not being the most athletic player, Bird’s skill on the court was unparalleled. Bird’s dominance in the 1980s, particularly his playmaking, offensive rebounding, and shooting, was unparalleled.

What team did Larry Bird play for in college?

Indiana State University
The next year he attended Indiana State University, ultimately playing three years for the Sycamores. Selected by the Boston Celtics with the sixth overall pick in the 1978 NBA draft after his second year at Indiana State, Bird elected to stay in college and returned for the 1978–79 season.

Did Larry Bird play basketball as a kid?

With perhaps more heart than talent, he spent long hours practicing his game, and in high school his accuracy on the basketball court soon made him a local celebrity in a state noted for its love of the game. Larry Bird, the self-described Hick from French Lick, almost did not play college basketball.