The Obit For Buddy Birdsall

David Birdsall, 79

By Melinda Gottlieb
The Staten Island Advance
September 22, 2009
Firefighter played minor league baseball

Former Staten Islander David (Buddy) Birdsall, 79, of Ocala, Fla., a retired firefighter whose baseball career was interrupted by the Korean War, died Sunday in Tuscany House, Summerfield, Fla.

The New Brighton native was a standout basketball and baseball player on championship teams at Curtis High School in the 1940s.

By the time he was 15, Mr. Birdsall was the ace of the Tompkinsville Blue Jays, founded by Morris (Mayor Moe) Cohen in the 1930s. Mr. Birdsall pitched every inning of every game in the once-a-week league. In 1947, he led the team to a win in the State Kiwanis Championship, played at Ebbets Field.

He was on the farm team for the New York Yankees when he put his career on hold to serve as a Marine in the Korean War.

“I signed with the Yankees but while I was in the service, I somehow ended up with the Giants,” he told the Advance in 2007.

Mr. Birdsall also played with the Lodge-Pignata Post of the American Legion, and the Flying Ginzburgs, a team of basketball-playing cousins.

“He was probably one of the best athletes on Staten Island by the time he was 15,” said Bert Levinson, a member of the Staten Island Sports Hall of Fame.

Following his discharge from the service, Mr. Birdsall briefly returned to baseball before joining the city Fire Department. He retired upon his move to Florida in the early 1970s.

Mr. Birdsall was a member of the Moose Club and Veterans of Foreign Wars in Ocala and the American Legion in St. Petersburg, Fla.

He enjoyed cooking and gardening.

Surviving are his wife of 44 years, the former Patricia Monahan, and his sister, Gail (Bunny) Kuhl.

Arrangements, including cremation, are being handled by the Hiers-Baxley Funeral Home, Timber Ridge, Fla.