How I Met Jerry Coleman

jerry coleman baseball cardJerry Coleman died today. Seven decades in baseball. World Series MVP as a player. Broadcaster. Manager.

I met Jerry in the late 70s. I was working in Philadelphia radio and our helicopter traffic guy, Walt McDonald, knew Jerry from San Diego. Could he arrange for me to watch a Phillies/Padres game from the broadcast booth as Jerry did play-by-play?

Done.

I headed to the Vet a few Saturdays later and was escorted into the booth directly behind home plate. I was a little overwhelmed. Jerry Coleman was a big deal former major leaguer with a very distinctive voice. There was no mistaking whose hand I was shaking. He didn’t pass unnoticed in a baseball stadium.

The Padres took an early lead, but between innings Coleman explained how the Phillies looked like they’d figured out the Padres pitcher, who was beginning to tire. I saw none of this, but nodded anyway.

Next inning the Phillies blew it open! The Padres pitcher was chased, just as Coleman predicted and when he predicted it.

Both Jerry Coleman and his broadcast partner, Dave Campbell, were gracious that afternoon. It was my own personal reality show to take in and remember.

Over 35 years later, I still remember. It still makes me smile. I am one of many who will not forget Jerry Coleman.

One Response to “How I Met Jerry Coleman”

  1. Mike Krauss says:

    I have had the honor of meeting and speaking with Jerry Coleman at the past several Yankees Old Timer’s Days. I remember Jerry as a player and as a Yankees’ announcer as well as his one year stint as manager of the Padres. When I first approached him a few years ago he was friendly and pleased to be remembered. Each time that we met we spoke of his playing days, his announcing career and his love of coming to New York to participate in the Old Timer’s Day ceremonies. He always had time to talk, and was always eager and friendly to talk. He was a good baseball guy, but most importantly he was a REAL mensch!!

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