On the field, the 1950 All-Star appeared in six World Series and earned four rings in nine seasons, compiling a .263 batting average in 723 career games, earning Rookie of the Year honors from the Associated Press in 1949 and World Series’ Most Valuable Player honors in 1950. He played in six World Series and won 8 division titles as the Yankees second baseman. Injuries forced his retirement in 1957.
Coleman remained in the Marine Corps Reserves until his retirement as a lieutenant colonel in 1964. In 2005, he was inducted into the Marine Corps Sports Hall of Fame.
Just three years after his retirement from baseball, Coleman transitioned into the broadcast booth handling pre-game interviews for Dizzy Dean and Pee Wee Reese on CBS television Game of the Week.
Beginning in 1963, Coleman joined a Yankees radio team featuring Mel Allen, Red Barber, Joe Garagiola and Phil Rizzuto, and was an active member of the broadcast team annually through 1969. In 1970, Coleman moved to southern California to host the Angels’ pre-game show, while anchoring the evening sportscasts of KTLA-TV.
In 1972, he became the voice of the San Diego Padres in only their fourth year in existence. Then, in 1980, Coleman was named the Padres’ manager, posting a record of 73-89 in his only season as he skippered future Hall of Famers Ozzie Smith, Dave Winfield and Rollie Fingers.
He returned as voice of the Padres in 1981. Coleman’s work with CBS Radio Game of the Week continued through 1997, with additional assignments for The Baseball Network (1994-1995).
In 2005, he was honored by the Baseball Hall of Fame with the Ford C. Frick Award for excellence in broadcasting. He passed away on Jan. 5, 2014 after more than four decades of service with the Padres.
Samantha Carr is a freelance writer from Fairport, N.Y.