Jerry Coleman passed away earlier today at the age of 89. Mr. Coleman became the San Diego Padres Radio Announcer in 1972, and held the title until his death.
His remarkable baseball career began as a second baseman for the New York Yankees (1949-1957), where he won four World Championships. In 1963, Coleman started his career as a radio announcer with the Yankees, and eventually moved to the California Angels before ending up in San Diego. In 2005, Coleman was awarded the Ford C. Frick Award by the Hall of Fame for his contributions to baseball through the art of broadcasting.
Most notably, Coleman achieved the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Marine Corps. He served as a bomber pilot during World War II and the Korean War, postponing his career as a professional baseball player each time. Mr. Coleman earned two Distinguished Flying Crosses for his service. The statue commemorating Jerry Coleman at Petco Park is a likeness of him in his flight suit.
Current and former Padres honored Mr. Coleman today with words of gratitude. Friars third baseman Chase Headley told Corey Brock of MLB.com that seeing Mr. Coleman “was a bright spot everyday.” Former Padres closer Trevor Hoffman tweeted, “We lost a great American in Jerry. An American warrior, athlete, and idol has gone!! We were lucky to have spent time around such a MAN!!!”
Here is the statement released by the San Diego Padres.
“The San Diego Padres are deeply saddened by the news today of the passing of Jerry Coleman. We send our heartfelt sympathy to the entire Coleman family, including his wife, Maggie, his children and grandchildren. On behalf of Padres’ fans everywhere, we mourn the loss of a Marine who was truly an American hero as well as a great man, a great friend and a great Padre.”
Here is the statement released by Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig.
“Jerry Coleman was a hero and a role model to myself and countless others in the game of Baseball. He had a memorable, multifaceted career in the National Pastime – as an All-Star during the great Yankees’ dynasty from 1949-1953, a manager and, for more than a half-century, a beloved broadcaster, including as an exemplary ambassador for the San Diego Padres. But above all, Jerry’s decorated service to our country in both World War II and Korea made him an integral part of the Greatest Generation. He was a true friend whose counsel I valued greatly.”
“Major League Baseball began its support of Welcome Back Veterans to honor the vibrant legacy of heroes like Jerry Coleman. Our entire sport mourns the loss of this fine gentleman, and I extend my deepest condolences to his family, friends, fans of the Padres and the Yankees, and his many admirers in Baseball and beyond.”
Rest in Peace Mr. Coleman.