Johnny Unitas (1933-2002) was one of the legendary figures in Maryland sports history. A veteran of 18 seasons in the National Football League with all but one with the Baltimore Colts, No. 19 was elected to the Pro Football of Fame in 1979. Unitas was the first quarterback to pass for over 40,000 yards in a career and led the Colts to three NFL titles as well as a Super Bowl victory in 1971.
A frequent visitor to Ocean City, Unitas often stayed at the Ocean Mecca Motel on 23rd Street. He would often attend the annual Colts Corral conventions where motel owner the late Kathleen Harman recalled, “everybody loved him – he was very polite and just a nice person.”
Unitas died of a heart attack on Sept. 11, 2002. At the urging of Ravens Roost #44, the Ocean City Mayor and Council voted to give 19th Street (in honor of his uniform number) the subtitle “Johnny Unitas Way.”
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Photo by Bunk Mann