God Bless Jerry Coleman

April 2, 2008 – 12:00 am by Ryan Phillips

Ah baseball. You can always tell when it’s back. The grass is a little greener, the air smells a little fresher and the broadcasts get just a little less tolerable. That’s right I said it, for the most part baseball announcers are awful. Which is why McD and myself have been incredibly lucky to be lifelong fans of the San Diego Padres.

Gerald Francis “Jerry” Coleman has been the Padres radio broadcaster since 1972 – excluding the 1980 season when he moved from the booth to the bench, becoming San Diego’s manager for one year. In his younger days, Coleman was a second baseman for the New York Yankees, earning the Rookie of the Year award in 1949. During his 36-year service to the Padres, the former U.S. Marine Corps aviator (he was a Colonel and served in both WWII and Korea), has become famous for many things. Mostly his calls of “Oh Doctor!” and “You can hang a star on that baby!” when a great defensive play occurs, after which he tosses a star (attached to a stick and string) out of the booth and waves it for the Padre crowd. Coleman was also the 2005 recipient of the Ford C. Frick Award and was inducted into the Hall of Fame.

The guy has had a long and distinguished career and at 83-years-old he has truly reached “National Treasure” status. That said, there’s one thing Jerry is more famous for than any of the others: Colemanisms. “The Colonel” misspeaks so often it’s hard to keep up during a broadcast. The guy makes George W. Bush sound like a wordsmith. It makes listening to him so much fun because you never know what he’s going to say next. Luckily, wikipedia and some other sites have compiled lists of some of his better material.

So, naturally we had to share with you some of our favorite malapropisms The Colonel has uttered over the years. Don’t think of this as making fun of Jerry, because that’s not what we’re doing at all. We think we’re celebrating his greatness by giving you the following:

“Winfield goes back to the wall. He hits his head on the wall — and it rolls off! It’s rolling all the way back to second base! This is a terrible thing for the Padres.”

“Rich Folkers is throwing up in the bullpen.”

“I’ve made a couple of mistakes I’d like to do over.”

“Gaylord Perry and Willie McCovey should know each other like a book. They’ve been ex-teammates for years now.”

“McCovey swings and misses, and it’s fouled back.”

“Hi folks, I’m Gerry Gross!” (He’s not the only broadcaster to introduce himself as his partner by mistake)

“Hi folks, I’m Jerry Reuss. No I’m not, I’m Jerry Coleman.”

“If Pete Rose brings the Reds in first, they ought to bronze him and put him in cement.”

“It’s a base hit on the error by Roberts.”

“Right now Andy Larkin is pitching just like a young Andy Larkin.”

“They throw out Winfield at second, but he’s safe.”

At Royals Stadium, later renamed Kauffman Stadium, in Kansas City, Missouri: “The sky is so clear today you can see all the way to Missouri.” (Broadcast partner John Rooney later gently broke the news to Coleman that he was actually in Missouri.)

“They’ve taken the foot off Johnny Grubb. Uh, they’ve taken the shoe off Johnny Grubb”

“Grubb goes back, back … He’s under the warning track and makes the play.”

“Johnny Grubb slides into second with a standup double.”

“There is someone warming up in the Giants’ bullpen, but he’s obscured by his number.”

“Davis fouls out to third in fair territory.”

“There’s a shot up the alley. Oh, it’s just foul.”

“And it’s a long drive down the line in center field.”

“That’s the fourth extra base hit for the Padres – two doubles and a triple.”

“Houston has its largest crowd of the night here this evening.”

“Montreal leads Atlanta by three, 5-1.”

“The first pitch to Tucker Ashford is grounded into left field. No, wait a minute. It’s ball one. Low and outside.”

“That’s (George) Hendrick’s 19th home run. One more and he reaches double figures.”

“Well, it looks like the All-Star balloting is about over, especially in the National and American Leagues.”

“The Padres, after winning the first game of the doubleheader, are ahead here in the top of the fifth and hoping for a split.”

“Eric Show will be 0 for 10 if that pop fly ever comes down.”

“At the end of six innings of play, it’s Montreal 5, Expos 3.”

“Tony Taylor was one of the first acquisitions that the Phillies made when they reconstructed their team. They got him from Philadelphia.”

“Mike Caldwell, the Padres’ right-handed southpaw, will pitch tonight.”

“Those amateur umpires are certainly flexing their fangs tonight.”

“The ex-left-hander Dave Roberts will be going for Houston.”

“The Phillies beat the Cubs today in a doubleheader. That puts another keg in the Cubs’ coffin.”

“Reggie Smith of the Dodgers and Gary Matthews of the homers hit Braves in that game.”

“And Kansas City is at Chicago tonight, or is it Chicago at Kansas City? Well, no matter as Kansas City leads in the eighth 4 to 4.”

“Ron Guidry is not very big, maybe 140 pounds, but he has an arm like a lion…” (Heart like a lion maybe?)

“The way he’s swinging the bat, he won’t get a hit until the 20th century.” (We’re assuming he meant 21st.)

“Pete Rose has three-thousand hits and 3,014 overall.”

“If Rose’s streak was still intact, with that single to left, the fans would be throwing babies out of the upper deck.” (Have no idea what he was trying to say here.)

“There’s two heads to every coin.”

“Billy Almon has all of his in-laws and outlaws here this afternoon.”

“Over the course of a season, a miscue will cost you more than a good play.”

“He can be lethal death.”

“Sometimes, big trees grow out of acorns. I think I heard that from a squirrel.” (We have no doubt Jerry actually believes he can talk to squirrels.)

On a home run by Willie Stargell: “Last night’s homer was Stargell’s 399th career home run, leaving him one shy of 500.”

“You didn’t have to say it was gone. It was gone before it got outta here. It was going that fast.”

“He may not be hurt as much as he really is.”

“At the end, excitement maintained its hysteria.”

“Larry Lintz steals second standing up. He slid, but he didn’t have to.”

“The Cards lead the Dodgers 4-2 after one inning and that one hasn’t even started.”

“The last time Pena faced the Padres, the Dodgers scratched for a run to tie the game and then went on to win 4-0.”

“That home run ties it up, 1-0.”

“Randy Moffitt is 6’3. Last year he was 6’6.” (He was probably trying to refer to the pitcher’s record, not his height.)

“I challenge anyone, even with a radar machine, to hit that slider.”

“What a great hitch to pit!”

“Trailing 5-1, the Padres added an insurance run in the eighth inning.”

“The Padres are really swinging hot hats tonight!”

“Gene Richards swings, the ball bounces foul and hits him in the head. No harm done.”

“When you lose your hands, you can’t play baseball.”

“Ozzie Smith just made another play that I’ve never seen anyone make before, and I’ve seen him make it more often than anyone else ever has.”

“Rick Miller hit only one home run last year, and that’s like hitting none.”

“I’ve never seen a game like this. Every game this year has been like this.”

“I like to use big words so people will think I know what I’m talking about.”

Referring to a Cleveland Indians fan banging a loud drum during the game: “Well, he ought to go home and find somebody else to bang.”

“Davey Lopes is a dangerous hitter when he gets on base.”

And though those were all fantastic, here are some of the R&R crew’s favorites:
“Hector Torrez, how can you communicate with Enzo Hernandez when he speaks Spanish and you speak Mexican?”

“He has a little pizzazz. I like that word pizzazz. I don’t know what it means, but I like it.”

On coach Steve Boros: “Boros is not with the team today because he’s attending his daughter’s funeral. Oh, wait, it’s her wedding.”

“Sunday is Senior Citizens’ Day. And if you want to become a senior citizen, just call the Padres ticket office.”

“Tony Gwynn, the fat batter behind Finley, is waiting.” (Talk about a Freudian slip.)

“I sure hope you’re staying alive for the upcoming Dodgers series.”

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  1. 2 Responses to “God Bless Jerry Coleman”

  2. Thanks for the great post, tears are literally rolling down my eyes. My office mates must think I’ve finally snapped,

    By Anonymous on Apr 2, 2008

  3. Great quotes…They remind me of Baltimore’s Tom Davis, who said “A ground ball past the shortstop into right field — a base hit!” It’s no wonder Mr. Davis lost his job at the former WFBR…

    By White Hammer on Apr 4, 2008

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