Saturday April 19 was a very sad day for me. Don Morgan, a 1950 graduate and Warrior standout athlete, passed away in Washington.
Don was one of my all-time favorite teammates and best friends. He passed away after undergoing heart surgery. Don was an all Humboldt-Del Norte League performer in football, basketball and baseball and has been inducted into the Del Norte Hall of Fame.
There were many an hour Don and I would shoot baskets for Fudgesicles before practice. I still owe him a whole bunch of Fudgesicles. I would call Don on the phone every time I ate one, trying to convince him I was eating them to pay off my debt. He always got a laugh out of these calls.
I still look back at Don's last game as a Warrior. It was the last game of the 1950 Warrior baseball season and we were playing Fortuna at Peterson Park. Both teams were undefeated, so the winner of this game would be league champion.
Don was pitching and I was catching. At the start of the last inning we had a one-run lead. We were able to get two outs quickly, so we only needed one more - Fortuna would not give up, however. They were able to load the bases with two outs.
The Huskies' best hitter, a big left hander by the name of Leon Thomas, came to bat. The count on Leon was three balls and two strikes - if Don threw one more ball the game is tied, one more strike game over and we win.
I signaled for a fast ball; Don shook me off. I gave the same signal again and he shook me off again. I called a time out and went to the mound to have a chat.
Don said "I am going to throw a curve."
"Don you haven't thrown a curve for a strike all season," I responded.
"I am going to throw one now," he said.
I said OK and Don threw his best knuckle curve and true to form it landed two feet in front of home plate, but Thomas took a mighty swing.
Strike three. Game over. The Warriors were champions.
Don gave Warrior fans a lot to cheer about during his four years at Del Norte. He will be missed by many, I know I sure will, he was a special friend.
Dick Trone writes on his reflections and the history of Del Norte High sports.