In Memory: Longtime Padres Broadcaster Jerry Coleman Remembered As Local Icon
Broadcasting HOFer JERRY COLEMAN, a "two-time war hero who became one of the most endearing figures in Padres history," died yesterday afternoon at the age of 89, according to a front-page piece by Chris Jenkins of the SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE. Coleman died at Scripps Memorial Hospital from "complications of head injuries he'd suffered in a fall last month." Several close friends said that he had been "in and out of the hospital since the early-December fall ... and also contracted pneumonia." He "wore the Padres uniform for only a year," but in 42 years as broadcaster of Padres games, Coleman "became the link between the major league team and San Diego." Coleman's "mistakes and misspeaks ... made him even more of an icon in the community" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 1/6). MLB.com's Corey Brock noted Coleman "called games on radio" for the Padres from '72 through last season. The "only exception came when he managed the team" in '80. He was elected to the Padres' HOF in '01. Coleman started out "calling the national game of the week for CBS, and he began calling Yankees games in 1963." But craving a "change of scenery, Coleman bolted for the West Coast -- without a job -- before getting a job as part of the Angels' broadcast team." Not long thereafter, late Padres GM BUZZIE BAVASI "convinced him to come to San Diego, where he became the lead broadcaster" in '72 (MLB.com, 1/5). The AP's Bernie Wilson noted Coleman was "known for calls of 'Oh, Doctor!' and 'You can hang a star on that!' after big plays." He also received the Ford C. Frick Award from the National Baseball HOF in '05. The Padres had "planned to keep Coleman's statue at Petco Park open" until 11:30pm PT last night so fans "could pay tribute" (AP, 1/5).