The Padres announced this afternoon that longtime Padres radio broadcaster Jerry Coleman has passed away at the age of 89.
We are deeply saddened to announce that Jerry Coleman passed away today. We mourn the loss of an American hero and a great man.— San Diego Padres (@Padres) January 5, 2014
Coleman started his lifelong career in baseball in 1949, playing second base for the New York Yankees. He won four World Series championships with the team, shining the brightest during their 1950 championship. He was selected for the All-Star team that year and went on to win the Babe Ruth Award, honoring the most valuable player in the World Series.
He left baseball temporarily to serve in the Korean War. It was his second tour of duty as a Marine Corp aviator; he postponed the start of his professional baseball career to serve in World War II. He flew over 120 combat missions and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross twice. He left the military with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.
Coleman started announcing Padres games in 1972, and only took one year off in his entire career. He had a good excuse for that, though: The Padres hired him to manage the team in 1980 (That team finished 73-89 in last place). Then it was straight back to the broadcast booth. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame as a broadcaster in 2005. In 2012, he became just the second man to be immortalized in statue at Petco Park. Per his request, the statue depicted him in his flight uniform, and as we'll always remember him: The Colonel.
The Jerry Coleman statue will remain open until 11:30 p.m. tonight for fans who would like to pay their respects. pic.twitter.com/lUkEiOsrM2— San Diego Padres (@Padres) January 5, 2014