As a 14-year old, Don began pitching and playing outfield for American Legion Post 209, where he immediately established himself as a winner. Throughout his baseball days he never had a losing season and usually hit over .300 averages. While successful at Central High, Don helped Post 209 win the legion title in 1944, and Borden Autos get second place in A League national division play in 1956. He signed a pro contract with the Cubs organization, assigned to Janesville of the Wisconsin State League, and as a rookie won the opener with a neat three-hitter. He also played at Lumberton, North Carolina of the Tobacco States League and in Jacksonville before deciding to return home for economic reasons. He resumed pitching in Akron and found the ability to throw a "fork ball" which helped make him one of the A League's top pitchers. Don hurled for the Canton Road Furnitures, 1948-1950; had even more success with the Smith Sheriffs, 1951-52; before rejoining the Furnitures when Frank Garcia took over the team in 1953 and helped them into the league playoffs.