Today in Celtics history: Simmons, Janisch, Walker born

Connie Simmons
Today, March 15th is the birthdate of three former Boston Celtics players from the earliest days of the club - big men Brady Walker and Connie Simmons, and wing John Janisch.

John Janisch
All three were finished with their time in green by the end of the first five seasons of the team's history.  Simmons was part of the very first (1946-47) Celtics squad and some of the following season before being traded to the Baltimore Bullets in February 1948. Janisch was briefly his teammate, having joined the Celts a few months before Simmons was traded after being snatched up by Red Auerbach and company after the dispersal draft following the demise of the Detroit Falcons, who played only one season in the Basketball Association of America (or BAA, a precursor league that would later merge with other leagues to become the NBA).

Walker was the relative latecomer of the three, joining the Celtics after being drafted in yet another dispersal draft, this time for the Providence (Rhode Island) Steamrollers, another BAA casualty which folded in 1949. Like Simmons, Walker would eventually be traded to the Bullets, along with Kenny Sailors for Dick Mehen, bringing the era of the three Ides of March-birthday Celts to a close. Very little information is out there for these early Celts - if you have any to share, please let us know! 

What we do know is the following: Simmons was only the second player ever to skip playing college ball altogether, preceded by Tony Kappen, and followed (MUCH later) by the likes of Kevin Garnett and LeBron James, who followed that pathway decades later. His brother Johnny also played for the Celts, and much like Michael Jordan would forty years later, he also played pro baseball, Johnny with the Washington Senators in 1949. Janisch attended Valparaiso, and would later play for the Steamrollers before the club folded. Walker attended BYU, serving in the Second World War before finishing his degree, and would only play four seasons for the Celts and Bullets, retiring early after injuring his leg.

For more stories about Celtics history on Celticslife, click here. For more by Justin, click here.

Top photo via
Bottom photo JCeltics/
Data via and Wikipedia
Follow Justin at @justinquinnn