San Diego, CA – “Jerry Coleman helped win six World Series and one World War.”
That statement alone, part of a moving tribute to Jerry made by broadcaster Keith Olbermann (view it here on YouTube), would be a remarkable obituary in and of itself, but it just scratches the surface of trying to describe the life of a truly amazing man and a highly decorated Marine pilot.
Jerry was quite a baseball player: He played second base for the New York Yankees from 1949 through 1957. He was named Rookie of the Year in 1949, was an All-Star in 1950 and won the 1950 Babe Ruth Award. He appeared in six World Series, was a World Series champion four times and finished his career with 558 hits, 217 runs batted in and a .263 batting average.
Jerry was quite a broadcaster: He began his career in 1960 with CBS television, spent seven years broadcasting Yankees games (including Mickey Mantle’s 500th career home run), and in 1972 became lead radio announcer for the San Diego Padres—a position he held for the rest of his life. He earned the Ford C. Frick Award from the National Baseball Hall of Fame for broadcasting excellence and is a member of the National Radio Hall of Fame.
Above all, Jerry was quite a Marine: He served as a pilot and flew combat missions in World War II (with the VMA-323 Death Rattlers) and in Korea (with the VMSB-341 Torrid Turtles). He was awarded with 13 Air Medals, two Distinguished Flying Crosses, and a variety of additional decorations too numerous to list here. He was inducted into the International Aerospace Hall of Fame in 2011—and was the only active Major League Baseball player to place his career on hold twice to fly in the military.
The Semper Fi Fund is deeply honored that Jerry’s family chose our organization as the beneficiary for those wishing to make a donation in his name. (See related article)
God bless the memory of Jerry Coleman and the entire Coleman family.