A Hall of Fame broadcaster who was the only Major League Baseball player to have fought in two wars has died at age 89.
Jerry Coleman, who died yesterday, Sunday, Jan. 5, 2014, had been, for many years, the voice of the San Diego Padres.
"In 42 years as broadcaster of Padres games, Coleman became the link between the major league team and San Diego. To many, he was its very identity," the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.
The article adds: "Coleman died at Scripps Memorial Hospital with complications of head injuries he’d suffered in a fall last month. Coleman had been in and out of the hospital since the early-December fall, according to several of his close friends, and also contracted pneumonia."
Coleman also played major league baseball for the New York Yankees, and, for one year, was the manager of the Padres.
In recent years, Coleman had cut down the number of games in which he appeared in the broadcast booth to 20-30.
Fellow Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully said of Coleman, according to the Union-Tribune, “Bottom line: People loved Jerry and respected him, because you could tell from listening to him what a wonderful person he was. I considered it a great privilege for me to be one of those who voted for Jerry’s induction into Cooperstown. What an amazing life.”
The Union-Tribune obituary adds: "Coleman’s humility and self-effacing ways belied an extraordinary personal history of courage, sacrifice and accomplishment. Addressed affectionately and respectfully at the ballpark as ‘The Colonel,’ he was a Marine Corps aviator in both World War II and the Korean War. And he was an All-Star second baseman for the dynastic New York Yankees who once was Most Valuable Player of a World Series."
In a statement issued Sunday, baseball Commissioner Bud Selig said: "Jerry Coleman was a hero and a role model to myself and countless others in the game of baseball. He had a memorable, multifaceted career in the national pastime — as an All-Star during the great Yankees’ dynasty from 1949-1953, a manager and, for more than a half-century, a beloved broadcaster, including as an exemplary ambassador for the San Diego Padres. But above all, Jerry’s decorated service to our country in both World War II and Korea made him an integral part of the Greatest Generation. He was a true friend whose counsel I valued greatly."