SAN DIEGO – Longtime San Diego Padres baseball announcer Jerry Coleman, who as a player won four World Series rings with the New York Yankees, died Sunday at age 89, Padre officials announced.
“The San Diego Padres are deeply saddened by the news today of the passing of Jerry Coleman. We send our heartfelt sympathy to the entire Coleman family, including his wife Maggie, his children and grandchildren,” a team statement said. “On behalf of Padres’ fans everywhere, we mourn the loss of a Marine who was truly an American hero as well as a great man, a great friend and a great Padre.”
Gates at Petco Park were opened late in the afternoon Sunday to let fans visit and pay respects to Coleman.
“We mourn the loss of an American hero and a great man,” team officials said via Twitter.
Coleman began his professional baseball career in 1942, as a New York Yankees minor leaguer and made his big league debut in 1949. He played nine seasons as a second baseman and played on six World Series clubs.
In 1950, after the Yankees swept the Phillies, Coleman was named an American League All-Star and World Series Most Valuable Player.
The La Jolla resident retired from professional baseball after the 1957 season with a lifetime .263 average, 16 home runs and a 217 RBI in 723 games.
He interrupted his professional baseball career twice to serve his country as a Marine pilot in World War II and the Korean War. He earned two Distinguished Flying Crosses, 13 Air Medals and three Navy citations before retiring as a lieutenant colonel. He is the only major league player to see active combat in two wars, according to the Padres.
In 1972, Coleman became lead radio announcer for the Padres, a role he had held every year except 1980, which he spent as the team’s manager. He also called national regular season games for CBS Radio until the 90s.
Team officials said that this season was Coleman’s 40th, and he still stirred fans with his patented “Oh Doctor!” and “Hang a Star!” calls, which had become signatures of Padres baseball.
He was inducted into the Padres Hall of Fame in 2001, the U.S. Marine Corps Sports Hall of Fame in 2005 and both the National Radio Hall of Fame in Chicago and the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame in 2007.
He is survived by his wife Maggie, children and grandchildren.