SAN DIEGO (CNS) - County supervisors closed their meeting Tuesday in memory of longtime San Diego Padres baseball announcer Jerry Coleman, who died Sunday at age 89.
The La Jolla resident's calls of "Oh Doctor" and "Hang a Star" during his 40 seasons with the team were both signatures of Padre baseball.
Supervisor Ron Roberts called Coleman a "San Diego icon."
"There are very, very few people in San Diego that didn't feel some sense of friendship on some level with Jerry Coleman," Roberts said.
Coleman made his big league debut with the New York Yankees in 1949, and went on to win four World Series titles in his nine seasons with the team. In 1950, he was selected the World Series' Most Valuable Player, and an American League All-Star.
Coleman interrupted his professional baseball career twice to serve as a Marine pilot -- once in World War II and again in the Korean War.
Coleman earned two Distinguished Flying Crosses, 13 Air Medals and three Navy citations before retiring as a lieutenant colonel. He was the only major league player to see active combat in two wars, according to the Padres.
Coleman retired from professional baseball after the 1957 season, and made the transition to the broadcast booth in 1960. In 1972, he became the Padres' lead radio play-by-play announcer, a role he held every year except 1980, which he spent as the team's manager.
"He embraced San Diego in a way that would be hard to imagine for somebody who'd had a career as a Yankee, but he was a Padre in every way, shape or form," Roberts said.
In 2005, Coleman received the National Baseball Hall of Fame's Ford C. Frick Award, given to a broadcaster who has made "major contributions to 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 and the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame in 2007.
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