RIP, LtCol Jerry Coleman

| January 6, 2014

A baseball icon has passed.

Jerry Coleman – former MLB second-baseman with the New York Yankees and longtime broadcaster for the San Diego Padres – has died.  He passed away yesterday at 89.

Coleman’s career in MLB was interrupted – like Ted Williams, when recalled to the USMC for service in Korea.  However, unlike Ted Williams Coleman had flown in combat previously.  Prior to his career in baseball, Coleman had flown combat missions for the USMC in World War II, and did so again in Korea.  He was reputedly the only MLB player to see combat in both wars.  He retired from the USMC Reserve as a Lieutenant Colonel, giving rise to his nickname “The Colonel” among his professional colleagues within the San Diego organization.

Coleman’s military awards included two Distinguished Flying Crosses, 13 Air Medals, and 3 Navy Citations (I’m pretty sure this was the forerunner of the Navy Commendation Medal; Navy types, correction please if I’m wrong).  He was no slouch as a ballplayer or broadcaster either; he was the MVP of the 1950 World Series, and received the Ford C. Frick Award in 2005 for his contributions to baseball as a broadcaster.

Coleman was honored by the San Diego Padres with a statue near PETCO Park in 2012.  When interviewed about his military career shortly before the statue was unveiled, he remarked: “Your country is bigger than baseball.”

Truly a life well-lived.  Rest in peace, my elder brother-in-arms.  Rest in peace.

Category: Baseball, Blue Skies, Marine Corps

Comments (10)

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  1. streetsweeper says:


  2. “Your country is bigger than baseball.”
    So many could heed this, about baseball and so many other topics. A few actually live the ethos.
    RIP Warrior/Patriot/All Around Good Guy

  3. Combat Historian says:

    Rest in Peace, Colonel…

  4. Sparks says:

    Rest In Peace Colonel. Thank you sir for your service. Now go deep for along one.

  5. Sparks says:

    Hate when I do that on an important comment. That should be “Now go deep for a long one.” (This is me feeling like a fool.)

  6. UpNorth says:

    Rest in Peace, Colonel.

  7. Just An Old Dog says:

    “You can hang a star on that one baby!!” one of the best isms ever. The best thing about him is whenever he was interviewed about his career and asked what his proudest moment and favorite team was, he always said the Marine Corps, not a ball team.

  8. 2/17 Air Cav says:

    Jerry Coleman was a gentleman’s gentleman and I can hear Phil Rizzuto now at the Pearly Gates, “Holy Cow! It’s Coleman!” I don’t know squat about Jerry Coleman as a Padre’s guy but I listened and watched him and Phil “The Scooter’ Rizzuto call games for the Yankees and the likes of them won’t be seen again. If you get a chance, somehow, listen to some of their broadcasts from the 60s. TV Channel 11, WPIX. They are worth listening to even if you don’t like baseball. BTW, The Scooter was also 89 when he left us.

  9. 68W58 says:

    So, to sum up: an All-Star game appearance, two DFCs, 4 World Series rings (including a World Series MVP), retired as a LTC and a long broadcasting career after his playing days. Those are pretty good innings to say the very least and there isn’t an American boy in his right mind who wouldn’t take pride in that life.

  10. Green Thumb says:

    Rest well, sir.