Memories of Colonel Jerry Coleman

Eric Sunderland

As a native of San Diego, my entire life is filled with memories of Jerry.

My family is filled with baseball fans, especially the women. My great grandmother loved baseball. She got my grandparents into baseball in Chicago and followed the cubs until  she moved to Del Mar with them in 1973. GG, as we called her, always had the radio on. She would listen to Bob Chandler, Jerry Coleman, Ted Leitner, etc, as they used words to paint pictures of (mostly bad) baseball. Even when we would tell her that the game was on TV, she only wanted to hear it described on the radio. I remember sitting with her when I was four years old in 1983 listening to Jerry call games. After she passed away, we continued to shun the TV in favor of Jerry’s voice to listen to the Padres.

I could recall 1000 different anecdotes and stories of different calls and different games from my childhood all the way until last season with Jerry. Rather than do that, I think the best way to describe Jerry is how he made me feel. His voice was familial. He was like a third grandfather that told great stories. Jerry had a way of making terrible baseball teams fun to follow. Listening to his broadcasts with Ted was like listening to your uncle and grandfather tell stories for three hours per day. People always would ask me why I am such a Padres fan, since they have always been so terrible. The reason is Jerry Coleman. He made the padres fun. My parents and siblings and I rarely miss a game either on radio, TV, or at Petco. I credit my family with my love of baseball, but I credit Jerry Coleman and Ted Leitner for my love of the Padres. Darren (Smith) made a comment that Petco will never be the same without Jerry Coleman. I can tell you honestly that baseball will never be the same to me. This will be the first season in my 34 years that Jerry won’t be involved. While I am devastated at the thought of his absence, I am forever grateful for the memories he gave me. Memories of my grandparents, great-grandparents, and special times that I will cherish.

My brother and I were fortunate enough to sit at a table with Jerry, just the three of us, last season to talk baseball, and life for 30 minutes. It was and is one of the highlights of my life. There will never be another like him, and we were blessed as San Diegans to have him for as long as we did.

If you don’t have an outlet and want to tell your story about Jerry Coleman, then write it up and send it to us at and we’ll post it this week.

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