On this day in 2005, legendary Padres broadcaster Jerry Coleman was honored by receiving the Ford C. Frick Award. He was truly honored to receive the award and of course his place in Padres and baseball history cannot be overstated. Listening to Padres games today is still not the same without him.
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At that time, Marty Caswell did a great interview with Coleman and talked to him about some of his baseball and career highlights. He talked about some of his favorite players he had covered, with his favorite being of course Tony Gwynn. He talked about calling the 1984 Padres run to the World Series and the memorable Steve Garvey home run in the NLCS against the Cubs as his most memborable call as a broadcaster. He added that he had not rehearsed or practice the call. “It was spontaneous…All I said was ‘It’s outta here, Padres win it'”.
He talked about the Padres honoring him with a statue and said “that has to be the greatest honor of my life, I just hope they make it tall so I can see it.”
His greatest moment as a player was watching the last out of the 1949 World Series that he won with the Yankees. He mentioned Red Barber as his favorite announcer growing up as a Yankees fan.
With the Dodgers Vin Scully continuing to climb in age and 2016 likely his final season in the broadcast booth, few announcers remain that last as long as Scully, Harry Carey, or Coleman did. Of course with the advent of media, listening to games on radio and even watching games on TV has changed a lot in our time.
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Distinguishing Coleman as well was his military career, twice being interrupted with tours of duty in the armed forces. His death in 2014 cast a pall over the season that would only grow when Tony Gwynn died that same season. Their spirits linger with the Padres and as the world looks to Petco Park this season for the All Star Game I know Jerry and Tony will be looking down wishing they were in on the fun.