Last surviving member of the 'Tall Firs' passes away

STANWOOD, Wash. - Ford Mullen, the last surviving member of the University of Oregon's 1939 "Tall Firs" NCAA Championship team, passed away Thursday. He was 96.

A reserve guard on Howard Hobson's squad that won the inaugural NCAA title, Mullen also played for the legendary coach on UO's baseball team from 1937-39 before a brief stint in Major League Baseball. Asked about his role on the hardwood in a 2009 Register-Guard article, Mullen quipped: "I guarded the water bucket."

Better known as "Moon" on the diamond, Mullen played second base for the Philadelphia Phillies in 1944, batting .267 with 31 runs batted in.

Mullen and his wife of 71 years, Jackie, recently donated his basketball letterman's blanket to the athletic department, which will be highlighted in a planned display for the 1939 NCAA trophy in Matthew Knight Arena.