Growing up as a kid in San Diego there were plenty of things to do, go to the beach, play with friends outside all year round, and listen to Padres baseball on the radio. The latter of the three was one of my favorites.
Now I loved playing with my friends, but did it get much better than listening to Padres baseball on the radio? Not really.
That is why the news of Jerry Coleman, the long time voice of the Padres came as such sad news to me. Coleman, a household name in San Diego, was a fixture in the city and of course in baseball.
I used to pretend that I was Jerry Coleman and I would record myself doing baseball games with my G.I. Joes. I still have those tapes. I later became a professional broadcaster with a ten year career in the field, and I owe a lot of it to Jerry Coleman’s inspiration.
I mean, when I was a kid the Padres were not very good, I know hard to believe, but listening to Coleman paint the picture of the game made every game sound like game seven of the World Series, even though the Padres couldn’t even reach the play-offs.
His positive outlook at of a Padre team year after that was bleak, was inspiration to fans of all ages. I mean Coleman painted with words like Bob Ross with Oil paint. He wove quite a tapestry to where we the listeners thought were there next to him in whatever town they were in.
I remember going to Padre games at Jack Murphy (Now Qualcomm) and looking up to the broadcast booth to see if Jerry would hang a star on a great play, several times he did.
The loss of Jerry Coleman is a loss to the media of radio. He was legend, and Icon, and a very humble man, and that made him even more likeable in San Diego.
Coleman obviously loved what he did because he did it for over 30 years.
I remember announcing my first baseball game on the radio all alone and I was a little nervous, but I thought, “What would Jerry Do” and I made my way through the game and had fun.
Coleman would always talk to the listener like they were old friends and they were just having a conversation about the game. I used that tactic when I broadcasted high school games on the radio, although not nearly as good as Jerry did.
Well, we can’t bring Jerry back but we can remember a man who was not only a legend in San Diego sports history, he was a war hero from World War II and the Korean conflict. That is something to hang a star on.
You will be missed Jerry.
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