As you all are aware by now, we lost a true American hero on Sunday when Jerry Coleman passed away Sunday at the age of 89.
For my portion of Jerry Coleman Week, I chose to reflect on the few chances I had to meet Jerry and some key moments for me involving him over the last few years.
2006 Friar Fest
“Oh! Where did you get this?” Jerry asked me after handing him this Padres Magazine to sign. I’m still not sure if he was joking or really had never seen it before.
2007 Friar Fest
In 2007 I wanted to get The Colonel’s autograph on a baseball. Once again, Friar Fest gave me that chance.
As I handed him the ball, I asked him “How’s it going today, Colonel?”
“I’m not a colonel anymore,” he replied as he handed me back the autographed ball.
“Once a Marine, always a Marine, sir,” I responded.
“You got me on that one,” he chuckled and thanked me for coming out.
Reading His Autobiography
August of 2012, my grandmother turned 90, so we all went back for the weekend of her birthday. My laptop is too big to use comfortably on Southwest — and grandma doesn’t have internet, let alone WiFi — so I decided to take a book. I chose Jerry’s “An American Journey: My Life On the Field, In the Air, and On the Air” to read on the flights to/from Rhode Island.
If you haven’t read it, I urge you to either order it from Amazon or Barnes & Noble or check out a copy at your local library. It’s well worth your time. I had it finished before my flight back to San Diego flew over the Rockies.
Jerry Coleman Day
September 15, 2012 was Jerry Coleman Day at Petco Park. The Padres dedicated the statue that night in a pregame ceremony. I went with @jodes0405 to that game. If you want to read about it again, Jodi did a nice writeup for Gaslamp Ball that I shamelessly stole for the old blog.
Sunday, January 4, 2014
I showed up at Petco Park around 5:30 or so. There were about 10 fans at the statue, along with a news crew. Over the next 2 hours the other news stations started to show up, along with many Padres fans. Andy Masur stopped by to pay his respects, and he ended up staying to talk to fans and the media.
We all shared stories of Jerry with each other, both personal and public. Favorite Colemanisms came up a few times, along with where and/or what we were doing when we heard his calls throughout Padres history on radio and TV.
Overall, it was a somber occasion, but not sad. There were some tears, but mostly it was laughter. I think Jerry would have appreciated that.
Then he probably would have told us all to go home.