For most former big leaguers, their time as an active player is the zenith of their athletic careers. This was not the case for Don Lund, who as a career .240-hitter appeared in only 241 games with the Brooklyn Dodgers, St. Louis Browns, and Detroit Tigers over parts of seven seasons. His tenyear stint as a professional baseball player was simply one part of a captivating fifty-year journey through the worlds of intercollegiate athletics and professional baseball. This journey included being present, as a rookie player, at one of baseball’s historic moments and later, as an executive, helping to build a World Series championship team. Lund also spent several years as a scout and a Major League coach. At the collegiate level he was a nine-letter athlete, coached an NCAA championship baseball team, and served as an administrator in one of the country’s premier athletic departments.
Donald Andrew Lund was born to Andrew and Marguerite Lund on May 18, 1923, in Detroit, Michigan. Don had one sibling, an older sister, Virginia. His father, an automobile worker, took his son to his first Major League game in 1929 to see Don’s favorite player, Charlie Gehringer, play against Babe Ruth and the Yankees.
Lund began his baseball career on the Detroit sandlots and rose to prominence while playing for Southeastern High School. He was a three-sport star there from 1939 to 1941. Don was named to the All-Metropolitan basketball team for three years and in his senior year was named both AllCity and All-State. In football, he captained the team in his senior year while being named AllCity. He was also president of his graduating class.
Don Lund’s first big league home run came on
September 12 as a pinch hitter against Cardinals ace
Lund was recruited by several Midwest colleges, but he chose to attend the University of Michigan in nearby Ann Arbor. At a time when freshmen were not eligible for varsity teams, Don became a nine-letter athlete. Playing during the World War II era, he was rejected for military service due to a “trick knee.” While in college, he married Betty Huff, his high school sweetheart. They would re-