Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Padres Are Honoring Coleman Longtime Broadcaster Was an All-Star with Yankees and Fought in Two Wars

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Padres Are Honoring Coleman Longtime Broadcaster Was an All-Star with Yankees and Fought in Two Wars

Article excerpt

SAN DIEGO - After graduating from high school in 1942, Jerry Coleman traveled three days by train from San Francisco to Wellsville, N.Y., to report to the New York Yankees' Class D affiliate.

Still 17, he was too young to enlist and fight in World War II, so he got to spend the summer playing ball.

It was the start of his 70 years in pro baseball, a career that included four World Series titles with the Yankees and was interrupted by World War II and the Korean War, when he served as a Marine Corps pilot.

On Saturday, the San Diego Padres will honor his long career in baseball by unveiling a statue of Coleman at Petco Park.

"I hope it's not in a bathing suit. It would scare people," cracked Coleman, who turned 88 on Friday.

Coleman began calling Padres games on radio in 1972. He had a forgettable stint as the club's manager in 1980 before returning to the booth.

The Padres aren't saying whether Coleman will be depicted as the slick-fielding Yankees' second baseman, the pilot who flew 120 missions combined in two wars or as a Hall of Fame broadcaster.

Regardless, "It's the greatest honor I've ever had," said Coleman, the only major leaguer to see combat in two wars. "I'm totally stunned and appreciative, I must tell you."

Padres President and CEO Tom Garfinkel said the team wants to honor Coleman for his "extraordinary service" to the Padres, San Diego and his country.

"He is the kind of man the rest of us hope to be," Garfinkel said. "He exemplifies humility, courage, honor, passion and a kind heart. Saturday is a celebration of a truly great man."

Around Petco Park and on Padres radio broadcasts, Coleman is known as "The Colonel," having retired from the Marines with the rank of lieutenant colonel.

He was a pretty good ballplayer, too.

After flying Douglas SBD Dauntless dive bombers in the Pacific in World War II, Coleman played three more seasons of minor league ball before making his big league debut with the Yankees on April 20, 1949. …

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