Tribute to Jerry Colemanby Representative Susan A. Davis
Posted on 2014-01-16
in the house of representatives
Thursday, January 16, 2014
Mrs. DAVIS of California. Mr. Speaker, on January 18, San Diegans of
all generations will flock to San Diego's Petco Park to celebrate the
life of baseball legend Jerry Coleman.
Lt. Colonel Gerald Francis Coleman was a San Diego icon. He was also a decorated war hero, an All-Star baseball player and an award-winning broadcaster.
But more than that he was a husband, father, and grandfather.
At a recent gathering of family and friends, his daughter Chelsea spoke of her dad and any parent would have been proud of the eulogy she gave.
Before being the voice of the San Diego Padres, before he played for the New York Yankees, Jerry, a young man from San Jose, California, answered his country's call to duty.
In 1942, at just 18, he joined the Marines to fight in World War II, flying missions in the Pacific as a combat aviator.
After the war, he traded his flight suit for pinstripes.
Jerry was called up to the Yankees in 1949 and was an anchor at second base smoothly fielding and turning double plays for the Yankees.
In 1950, he was an All-Star. That same year he would be named MVP of the World Series.
[[Page E99]] In his playing days, he would help the Yankees win six World Series.
When war raged in Korea, his country called a second time. Jerry hung up his cleats and donned the flight suit once again.
Over the span of his service in two wars, he flew 120 missions. Jerry was awarded two Distinguish Flying Crosses, 13 Air Medals and three Navy Citations. He was the only Major League Baseball player to see combat in two wars.
After baseball, he moved to the broadcasting booth. Generations of San Diegans watched baseball with Jerry where he regaled everyone with his knowledge of and enthusiasm for the game.
We can still hear his signature phrase on stellar plays: ``Man, you can hang a star on that one!'' In 2005, the Hall of Fame honored Jerry with the Ford C. Frick Award for his broadcasting.
With his passing, we are hearing about Jerry what many of us already knew that he was a genuinely nice man. ``Class act,'' ``Hall of Fame guy,'' and ``like a favorite Uncle'' are the apt descriptions being mentioned of Jerry.
In his book An American Journey, he wrote: ``I've always said this, though it sounds corny. There are two important things in life: the people who you love and who love you, and your country.'' We will miss Jerry. And all of us can agree: You can hang a star on this life.