Hall of Fame broadcaster and former player Jerry Coleman died Sunday at the age of 89. Coleman's playing career lasted 9 years, and his broadcasting career lasted over four decades. He also managed the San Diego Padres in 1980.
"It's a sad day," current Padres manager Bud Black told ESPN. "We're losing a San Diego icon. He's going to be missed."
Coleman had multiple surgeries to repair bleeding in his brain, a family friend told the Associated Press. Padres president Mike Dee said that Coleman had died in a hospital on Sunday afternoon. The team was notified by Jerry's wife, Maggie Coleman.
Coleman, who interrupted his professional career to fight in World War II, hit .263/.340/.339 with 16 home runs and 217 RBI at second base with the New York Yankees. He was an All Star in 1950. He played brilliantly defensively in the World Series that year, earning the MVP of the series. He also left baseball to fight in the Korean War. Coleman retired in 1950.
The Padres went 73-89-1 under Jerry Coleman in his lone year in 1980.
In 1960, Coleman began his broadcasting career with CBS, conducting pre game interviews on the Game of the Week. His career nearly ended that year, as he was in the middle of an interview when the National Anthem begun. Instead of taking a brief pause, he continued the interview, brining upon angry letters to CBS.
In 1972, Coleman began broadcasting for the San Diego Padres, a position he held every year through the 2013 season except for 1980, when he was manager of the club. He is known for his famous calls such as, "Oh Doctor!" On September 15, 2012, the Padres unveiled a statue of Coleman at Petco Park. On Sunday, they kept it open until 11:30 p.m. to allow people to pay their respects to one of the greatest broadcasters of all time.
Coleman won the Ford C. Frick award in 2005 for his excellent broadcasting.
The San Diego Union-Tribue called Coleman the "Padres shining star." There is no doubt in my mind that Coleman is the Padres star broadcaster. He revolutionized the game with his great calling, from the heart.