Coleman continues Hall chat series
Legendary baseball lifer shares experiences with fans
Jerry Coleman, Padres broadcaster, six-time World Series champion, decorated wartime pilot and the 2005 Ford Frick Award winner, continued MLB.com's Hall of Fame chat series, courtesy of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. Coleman shared anecdotes about his service for this country, his thoughts on this year's baseball season and his favorite memories from his playing and broadcasting career.
Jerry Coleman: I'd like to say a big hello to all the web visitors from San Diego, where today it's NOT raining!
jrwhitesox: Which of today's players have the potential to make good broadcasters down the road, either because of their experience or their ability to communicate with people?
Jerry Coleman: Well, he's not playing today, but Tony Gwynn is one of the best in the business and he knows the game as well as anyone anywhere.
Base_Ball: Hi Jerry. What is your most memorable baseball moment as a broadcaster for the Padres? Also, in your opinion, which Padres team was better -- '84 or '98?
Jerry Coleman: The Steve Garvey home run in the 1984 playoffs. Garvey drove in five of the seven runs, and he hit what was probably the most memorable home run in San Diego history to win Game Four.
Jerry Coleman: I think 1998 had better pitching. Kevin Brown was very good that year, and so was Andy Ashby. Also, Trevor Hoffman was great from the bullpen. If you're going to win, you have to have pitching. I'd take the '98 team over the '84 team.
Ted_Spencer: What advice do you have for aspiring broadcasters?
Jerry Coleman: I'm asked that a lot. I always say to go to bed with the dictionary. Learn the language. Speak in front of people as much as you can. If you graduate from school, send your resume to 5,000 radio stations -- they might hire you. Or the best thing ... be an ex-jock! But for aspiring broadcasters, I'd also say to not copy anyone. Have your own style.
Jerry Coleman: My career in broadcasting was accidental. I had just retired and I was asked to be a broadcaster, and I worked with Pee Wee Reese and Dizzy Dean and went from there.
editorialproducer: Jerry, what was more memorable for you, winning the World Series MVP or receiving distinguished honors for serving our country?
Jerry Coleman: You can't compare the two. Baseball was a big part of my life, but the most important part of my life was my military career. I've been in baseball for 62 years, but my five years in the service was the most dramatic part of my life.
vapadresfn: Who was your favorite player growing up?
Jerry Coleman: Lou Gehrig. My mother bought me a book about his life. In San Francisco, Joe DiMaggio was a big star and I became a big Yankee fan.
jrwhitesox: What was it like working with Dizzy Dean?
Jerry Coleman: He was a character and a wonderful person. You know, he hated to fly. We were going somewhere one time and one of the engines caught fire, and the pilot came on and said, 'We have a little engine problem,' and we waited. We got off the plane and Dizzy just went home! He wouldn't get on that plane. He was marvelous. You loved listening to him because you never knew what he was going to say.
Ted_Spencer: When did you originate your famous 'Oh, doctor' call?
Jerry Coleman: That came from Casey Stengel. Casey used to say 'You know what I mean, Doctor?' and I picked it up from him.
Jerry Coleman: I think Red Barber might have used it, because I saw film of Al Gianfriddo's catch off DiMaggio, and Barber was broadcasting, and he said 'Oh, Doctor!' So I guess nothing is original!
lrdurham23: Of all the Padres you've known on and off the field, who was your personal favorite on the field and off the field, respectively?
Jerry Coleman: You can't beat Tony Gwynn. On the field, no one was like him. He won eight batting titles, and could have won nine, but played hurt one year. He may have been the best hitter ever, up there with Ted Williams. John Moores, the owner of the Padres, also deserves a mention because of how he made this team a part of the community, lost millions and still stuck with this team.
jrwhitesox: I believe baseball is the best game for radio because of its pace and the opportunity to relate stories about it between pitches. Would you agree?
Jerry Coleman: Absolutely, baseball is a radio game. You can build a lot of things on radio that you can't on TV. On TV, if you talk too much, it's bad. The viewer can see it; he doesn't want to hear you. On radio, you get to tell the story. I've always loved the game, and I'm not a stat freak. So I try to use less stats and explain what really happened.
lrdurham23: Q: What do you do with your scorecards from the games? Do you keep them all?
Jerry Coleman: No, if you want to find them they're probably in the garbage. I don't care to look back too far and keep them. I don't save them. In fact, I don't save anything.
jmxt685: Who is your favorite player to watch today?
Jerry Coleman: We have a couple guys here in San Diego, because they are the ones I see a lot. But on other teams, I see Albert Pujols, and he's great. But I like Khalil Greene and I also like Mark Loretta -- Loretta might be one of the most underrated players in the history of the game! He's like Alan Trammell, very underrated -- I mean real underrated. To me, the Padres' double play combination is the best in baseball when you take into consideration defense, offense, everything.
vapadresfn: Do you have any funny stories you can tell about Ted Leitner?
Jerry Coleman: We have a great time together. He's a better broadcaster than I am. The thing about him is that he can read a book and quote it, telling you what page he read it on, and so on. I hate that! He's fantastic, he could be a star in any media, broadcasting anything.
Ryan_Restivo: Hey, huge Pads fan here. Do you think the Padres have what it takes to make a big run this year?
Jerry Coleman: If some of the young pitchers step forward, yes. Of course, we have to stay healthy. Phil Nevin needs to come up big, and Brian Giles too. Along with Loretta, Greene and Ramon Hernandez at catcher, we have a shot. Dave Roberts can run and get on base, and he might help. But pitching will be the key, as it always is. If the youngsters step up, we have a good shot.
Hank_Chase: I was there when you were managing and thought you did a heck of a job. When you look back, do you ever wish you had gotten a second season?
Jerry Coleman: No. People say, 'You came in last!' But I started the season last and held the position all season long! I think players had changed from when I was in the game. I had been out of the game for a long time, and it was different.
Jerry Coleman: Thanks to everyone for joining me. Frankly, I was surprised to win the award. I never won an award for broadcasting in all my years. When I received the call, I was startled, but pleased. I hope to see all the Padres fans out in Cooperstown this July 31!
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.