Ford Mullen, oldest Phillie, dies at 96

Posted: March 03, 2013

Ford (Moon) Mullen, the oldest living Phillie, died on Feb. 28, the team said. The cause of death was not released.

The Stanwood, Wash., resident celebrated his 96th birthday on Feb. 9 with family and friends. Mr. Mullen became the oldest living Phillie when pitcher Freddy Schmidt died last fall. Ironically, he had the same birth date as Mullen. Schmidt would have turned 97 this month.

A left-handed-hitting second baseman, Mr. Mullen hit .267 in 118 games with the 1944 Phillies and was drafted in the Army following that season, his only one in the Majors.

His claim to fame with the Phillies was getting the lone hit off Boston Braves pitcher Jim Tobin, who threw a no-hitter in his next start.

A Philadelphia columnist nicknamed Mr. Mullen "Moon" after a popular comic strip of the time, Moon Mullins. To his family and friends, he's always been Ford.

Mr. Mullen and his wife, Jessie, had been married for 72 years. In an interview with the Seattle Times three years ago, Mrs. Mullen said she made a pact with Mr. Mullen early. She'd go fishing with him if he'd go square dancing with her.

"So we square-danced for 33 years, fished for 25 years, and traveled for 25 years in our RV," she said. "It's been a very good life."

"I don't drink and don't smoke. Once I did smoke a pipe, but I never had a drink," Mr. Mullen said a year ago.

The 5-foot-9 Mullen was the last surviving member of the University of Oregon basketball team that went 29-5 and won the first NCAA championship during the 1938-39 season.

"I was a guard but spent most of my time on the bench," Mr. Mullen said earlier this month. "I was too short."

Two years ago, the Phillies sent Mr. Mullen a Phillies jersey with his name and No. 1 on the back. Mrs. Mullen said funeral plans are pending.

Al Monchak, who played shortstop for the Phillies in 1940, will turn 96 on March 5, thus becoming the oldest Phillies Alumnus. Next in line is pitcher Lou Lucier, who will be 95 on March 23.

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