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Former San Diego High athlete/coach Jerry Dahms dies

‘Man’s man’ starred in baseball, football for the Cavers

From San Diego Union Tribune
APRIL 16, 2019 7:19 PM

Jerry Dahms, a standout baseball and football player at San Diego High in the 1940s who went on to coach at the school, died this month. He was 89.

Dahms, who lived in Point Loma, was a power-hitting catcher and versatile quarterback for the Cavers. He went on to play minor league baseball in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization.

Jerry Dahms
In football, Dahms was so strong and versatile that when he wasn’t directing the Cavers offense at quarterback he played offensive tackle but still called the plays.

But it was in baseball where he most excelled. He was an MCRD teammate with San Diegan Bob Skinner, a La Jolla High graduate. Skinner played 13 seasons in the major leagues, was a three-time All-Star and played on two World Series championship teams.

“He was a good catcher,” said Skinner. “He was a big guy, and he blocked the plate well. And he had power. He was a man’s man. He stood up to whatever came down the road regarding problems. He handled them. He was just a good person.”

Dahms was the varsity baseball coach at San Diego from 1959 through ’63. The Cavers were 71-26 under Dahms and played for the CIF Southern Section championship his first season, losing to Whittier.

Bob Cluck, a major league pitching coach for 11 seasons, pitched for Dahms at San Diego High.

“It was just a huge advantage (pitching for Dahms),” said Cluck. “He’d tell us how to pitch the best guys in town. We had terrific success against the best hitters. He was a real players coach.

“He had a knack, knowing when to discipline, when to encourage. He understood how players thought. In my career I recognized instantly when I played for a guy who played the game and understood how we thought.

“I just loved him as a man and as a coach.”

Dahms was one of five brothers who played at San Diego High. His brother Tom was an offensive lineman on the Los Angeles Rams’ 1951 NFL championship team.

Norcross is a freelance writer.

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