Coleman was a Marine pilot in World War II as well as during the Korean conflict. His baseball career began relatively late, with the New York Yankees in 1949. He was named the AP Rookie of the Year; he had one of the key hits in the Yankees dramatic final game that season.
When his playing days ended, in 1957, Coleman worked in the Yankees’s front office, then as an announcer for the team between 1963 and 1970. But lasting renown, which merited induction in the broadcasters’ wing of the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2005, came with the San Diego Padres, a club he also piloted for one season, 1980, finishing in last place.
Coleman has been called “The Master of the Malaprop”—a term derived from French via The Rivals. The subject line of this blog is classic Coleman. Probably the most famous is as follows: “Winfield goes back to the wall, he hits his head on the wall and it rolls off! It’s rolling all the way back to second base.”
There was something whole and larger than life about Jerry Coleman, for me signifying the essence of 1940s’ America and the so-called greatest generation. Jerry Coleman died January 5, 2014. R.I.P.