Legendary Portland baseball coach Jack Dunn celebrates 94th birthday
PORTLAND, Ore. (KPTV) – Oregon Sports Hall of Fame Coach Jack Dunn celebrated his 94th birthday with dozens of former players after coaching baseball for 39 years in the Rose City.
Jack Dunn is always learning and always loving life at 94.
“The thing that makes me so proud is these guys have done what as coaches and educators we want people to do, to be successful, to be contributing citizens to society, and they’ve all done this so even if they played baseball, didn’t make the big leagues, they’re big leaguers to me,” Dunn said.
One of Dunn’s most famous big leaguers is Dale Murphy. The seven-time MLB All-Star was part of Coach Dunn’s American Legion World Series Team from the Rose City 50 years ago.
“We have had probably 35 to 40 people play professionally and get that out of their system and get on with their life, so that’s fun,” Dunn said.
From 1929 to 2023, Coach Dunn has had a ball and seen a lot of it too.
“I wrote a book called, ‘From the Third Base Coach’s Box’ and it made a commitment that I had to my coach at Lincoln High School, Wade Williams, who said to me, ‘Take what I give you, improve on it and pass it on.’”
Playing during his youth growing up in Multnomah Village, to high school at Lincoln before his college days at PSU, OSU, and U of O ahead of a decade-long pro-ball path in the Brooklyn Dodgers organization.
“I’m so glad I wrote the book because I’ve lost a lot of that knowledge,” Dunn said. “I read my book and I say, ‘hey, I don’t remember that I knew that!’”
Dunn’s journey to become an author started after his wife of 44 years, Jean, his high school sweetheart, passed away in ‘97. His writing and his walking keep the legend sharp.
“When I had to put a sign on my back to say I was jogging and not walking, I started walking,” he said.
Dunn’s pace was always meant to be a leader as coach, teacher, and mentor to so many.
“One gal said to me, ‘We must not be worth very much, nobody wants us.’ It about cut my heart out,” Dunn said.
Dunn poured his heart and soul into 39 years of coaching; 14 seasons at Cleveland, five at Wilson, and 20 with Portland State University where he never had a losing record with the Vikings after coaching his last game in 1994.
“I have been paid back a million times by the success, not in baseball, but in citizenship of my former players,” he said.
Dunn is now surrounded in love by his big group of former students and players as well as his big family. Not only does the father of three sons have 10 grandchildren, but he is eagerly anticipating the birth of his 11th and 12th great grandchildren.
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