Mystery Solved!


Readers identified this photo as a bunting demo by beloved longtime head baseball coach Don Kirsch.

From Dr. Walter Kirsch, DMD, BS ’49

The man holding the baseball bat in the picture is my brother, Don Kirsch.  He was an All City (and very possibly more) Baseball and Basketball player at Jefferson

High School, Portland, Ore.  At the UO. in Eugene, Oregon 1939 through 1942, he starred in both sports, becoming the captain of the basketball team.  He was attending the College on a four-year-scholarship.  Upon graduation from the UO, he went immediately to Officers Training in Georgia, USA, became a 2nd Lieutenant  in the U.S. Infantry.  He was immediately sent to Europe for active duty in the U.S. Infantry in the War against Germany.  He was severely wounded by shell fragments in his back and neck.  The military doctors who treated him, told my parents later, that they did not think he could survive his severe wounds.

He came limping home one evening with a cane, months later, after treatment in Europe, Georgia, USA, and a Military Medical hospital in  the state of Washington, USA.  When they finally released him,  he took a teaching and coaching position in a Hillsboro, Oregon High school.  Two years later, his well-known UO basketball and baseball coach, Howard Hobson, announced that he was going transfer to an Eastern college to take on a similar position, which would also allow him to work on a book about “ Teaching Athletics.”  He highly recommended to the UO staff that they get Don Kirsch to take over his position. They did so. Don became the head baseball coach at the UO in 1948 and held that position until he passed away in 1970.  I also played baseball at the UO from 1946 through 1949, second base, selected on the All Northern Team three years. 

From Susie David Oswald, BS ’72

The gentleman with the bat is Don Kirsch of UO baseball fame. He was an usher in my parents’ (Douglas and Kathryn David) wedding in September of 1945!!! His daughter, Pam, was in my Alpha Phi pledge class in the fall of 1968. Thank you.

From Wayne Smith, Oregon Baseball Team (’65-’67) 

This is a photo of the legendary baseball coach, Don Kirsch, demonstrating the art of bunting to the 1966 Baseball Team.  The picture was taken in Mac Court where several of our practices were held due to rainy weather. The players that I can definitely identify are second from left, Ted Amato; third from left, Denny Baldridge; and fourth from left is Ted Novack. I was a member of that team as well, but not in the picture. Thanks for the memories!!!

From Gary Schultz, BS ’72 and JD ’75

Mr. Kirsch was a former second  baseman when he played for the U of O baseball team, after World War II.  My recollection is that he was right handed.  But the U of O  design seems to be correctly located on his left shirt pocket area.  Maybe he batted left handed, I can’t definitively remember.  I would image that he was demonstrating how to bunt a pitched ball to his team members. I don’t recognize any of the team members. I also imagine that the demonstration was indoors because of the tennis shoes that the team members were wearing.  When I played, 1967-1969, we practiced, during the winter portion of the school year, hitting in batting cages, which were on hard wood floors, in the P.E. building, near MacArthur Court.  We generally wore the attire that those team members were wearing: sweat pants, baseball undershirts with dark green colored arms, baseball caps and tennis shoes. Therefore the photograph was taken before 1967.

Robb Haskins, BA ’66

Your mystery photo was of then U of O Varsity Baseball Coach Don Kirsch demonstrating bunting technique to team members probably inside MacArthur Court on a rainy day (bleachers in background) sometime in the 1950s (block O on the hats).

Rich Burk, BS ’70

This is a photo of head baseball coach Don Kirsch demonstrating the correct sacrifice bunting position. I believe it is circa 1964. Larry Hansen is the player with his hands on his hips (I think). I played baseball for the Ducks in the 1966-1968 seasons, and for Coach Kirsch in my last year. Coach Kirsch was a great Coach and demonstrated incredible strength and courage especially given the disease he battled for years.

And a big thanks to Keith Farnum, Ken Hadden, BS ’66; Jack Katzenmeyer, BBA ’58; and Mary K. Purdy, who phoned in to identify the coach.

Keith said: “Coach Kirsch took me under his wing when I was having some grade problems, and helped me get my life straightened out. I’m happy to see him on the front of the newsletter.”  He also mentioned that he had gone to Spokane to see the Ducks play the day before the photo was taken.

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