Millions in San Diego grew up associating their baseball team with his voice. But Padres broadcaster Jerry Coleman's contributions to our nation's pastime are perhaps getting just barely more attention than his service to his country.
"Coleman was MVP of the Yanks' 1950 World Series sweep of Philadelphia. He made the Hall of Fame as a broadcaster — spending more than 40 years with the San Diego Padres. He also served in two wars as a Marine pilot." (Via KABC)
The Padres announced Coleman's passing Sunday following complications from a recent fall. A Marine pilot in both World War II and Korea, the team said the 89-year-old was the only player in major league history to see combat in two wars. (Via San Diego Padres)
During his broadcasting career, Coleman was perhaps best known for signature sayings, "Oh, Doctor!" and, "Hang a star on that one!" Coleman said "oh doctor" came from legendary manager Casey Stengel, who always called him "doctor."
"The hang a star came from — if you recall — in junior high school, every Friday had a spelling test? And if you got them all right, you got a gold star. And I never got a gold star!" (Via KSWB)
The Padres unveiled a statue of Coleman at Petco Park in 2012 honoring his military service. He reportedly did an interview just prior to the unveiling saying, "Your country is bigger than baseball." (Via KNSD)
Fans and coworkers in San Diego nicknamed Coleman "The Colonel" out of respect for his rank when he retired from the military as a lieutenant colonel.
The Padres kept Coleman's statue open to the public until nearly midnight Sunday, and by late evening newscasts, flowers and cards completely covered the base of the monument. (Via KFMB)