2013 Lifetime Achievement Award of the Year
If ever there was an individual who exemplified “Lifetime Achievement,” it was Jerry Coleman.
Coleman, who starred on the field with the New York Yankees, made a career as one of Major League’s most entertaining announcers and was the face of the San Diego Padres in so many different ways— – even as a manager (1980).
But before his passing in January, the 89-year-old Coleman said the highlight of his life had nothing to do with baseball.
“The highlight of my life was getting my gold wings,” said Coleman, of receiving his fighter pilot’s wings while serving in the Marine Corps in World War II. “When you think of all the pilots who got them before me—Pappy Boyington, Eddie Rickenbacker—it means a lot. It was the finest day of my life.”
When the Korean War came along, there suddenly was an extreme shortage of pilots, and he
“It cost me five years in the major leagues and I was never as good as before,” says the Colonel. “But money never made a difference for me.”
Coleman admits being chosen MVP of the 1950 World Series sweep of Philadelphia was also a highlight. He drove in the only run in a 1–-0 win, scored one of the runs in a 2–-1 win, and drove in the winning run in the ninth inning of the third win.
And when asked his most memorable time with the Padres, he pointed to the comeback against the Chicago Cubs in 1984 to win the National League pennant.