Don began playing baseball for 1992 Hall of Famer Phil Dienoff's Howe School sandlot team. From there to South High, where he earned three letters playing second base for the varsity team. Upon graduation, he enrolled at The University of Akron, but after a year enlisted in the Army Air Corps, and played on the base team while being trained as a bombardier at Sioux Falls, South Dakota. After the war, he returned to The University of Akron and sharpened his shortstopping skills under the tutelage of Frank Garcia (who at the time was serving as U of A baseball coach). He was a member of the same team as Hall of Famers Joe Staudt, George Ostrander, and Sam Filer. After college he signed a pro contract with the New Castle Chiefs, a Cleveland Indians affiliate in the Penn State League. Deciding that pro ball was not for him, Don returned to Akron, entered law school and played AA baseball with Hoe Winkler's Civitan Club, Souvenir Beers, Norka Plating and Ravenna Chevrolet. During his 9 years in the AA League, Don was a member of five championship teams, and was an All-Star selection twice.