Let 'er rip
Jim Irwin on Don Lund
Straight-arrow former U-M baseball coach Don Lund, who guided the Wolverines to a national championship in 1962, was once a skilled sign stealer. That's one revelation from Playing Ball with Legends, a new biography of Lund by local businessman Jim Irwin. Irwin, who spent five years researching and writing Lund's story, writes that the former pro peeked between catchers' legs for insufficiently concealed fingers and expertly read opposing pitchers' "tells"--a downward grip on the ball, a higher leg kick, a facial expression, even a raised eyebrow. In a 1961 game against Illinois, according to the book, Lund shouted "Let 'er rip!" from the dugout--his verbal code for an incoming fastball. Batter Ed Hood--a future Ann Arbor attorney and city council member--let rip a game-winning single that clinched the Big Ten championship.
[Originally published in December, 2009.]