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Twitter feeds were flying today when it was announced that on Sunday, January 5, 2014, the San Diego Padres confirmed that Jerry Coleman, the long time voice of the San Diego Padres, passed away at the age of 89. Reportedly succumbing to injuries from a fall, (per tweet from Lee “Hacksaw” Hamilton) spring will see the first season in 33 years without the subtle cadences and humorous “Coleman-isms” San Diego has come to know and love.
“We are deeply saddened. We mourn the loss of an American hero and a great man.” stated the official Padres tweet. For fans wanting to pay tribute, the Padres also announced: “The Jerry Coleman statue at Petco Park will stay open until 11:30 p.m. Sunday, January 5, 2014, for fans who want to pay respects.” Entrance through the East Village gate.
Born Gerald Francis Coleman, born Sept. 14, 1924, in San Jose, California, Jerry Coleman was both baseball player, legend, and American War hero, a Marine Bomber pilot in World War II and the Korean War, according to the San Diego Union Tribune. Coleman was also an All Star second baseman for the New York Yankees. But for San Diego Padres fans, for the past 33 years, Jerry Coleman has calmly if not jovially called in the rites of spring with America’s favorite past time.
According to Lee “Hacksaw” Hamilton, “Jerry Coleman was the voice of summer on the radio with Padres baseball.”
Coleman was known for his trademark, “Oh! Doctor!” The Baseball Almanac Web site stats state, “Coleman was known for his concise play-by-play calls, Coleman spent nine seasons with the New York Yankees as a player from 1949-57 before starting his broadcasting career in 1960. An on-air personality for 41 years, Coleman has spent 32 seasons broadcasting for the Padres, including the past 23.
The Baseball Almanac Site harvested several of Jerry Coleman’s famed “Coleman-isms”–the announcer’s quips and off the cuff statements were enough for the Baseball Almanac to keep record, including many about Coleman’s Yankees, playing with the likes of Joe Dimagio and Mickey Mantle.
“(Joe) DiMaggio seldom showed emotion. One day after striking out, he came into the dugout and kicked the ball bag. We all went ‘ooooh’. It really hurt. He sat down and the sweat popped out on his forehead and he clenched his fists without ever saying a word. Everybody wanted to howl, but he was a god. You don’t laugh at gods.”
On the Twitter feed, there is a mix of respect, shock and reverence for the man we loved to listen to. The military town herald’s its fallen Marine Colonel.
With the San Diego Chargers win over the Cincinnati Bengals, 27-10, and the San Diego State University Aztecs basketball
Twitter-er @Ty_Frank (Andy Morales) stated it best, when he wrote: “Two wins and a loss in San Diego sports today. Congrats to the bolts and Aztecs. And jerry Coleman will be remembered.”
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