Friends remember Padres announcer Jerry Coleman

War hero, baseball stand-out deeply respected

SAN DIEGO - San Diego Padres fans and friends are sharing memories about Jerry Coleman the day after his death.

Coleman passed away Sunday. He was 89.

After decades behind the microphone and one season as manager, many will long remember Coleman's trademark call of a great play: "You can hang a star on that one!"

Fans would turn to see a star being waved from the booth behind home plate.

It is a sad day now as his Padres family gathered near his statue at Petco Park, leaving flowers and notes, baseball caps and American flags. He touched many.

"It didn't matter to Jerry if you were a fan off the street, it didn't matter if you were president, or the president of a bank, or a news reporter … Jerry Coleman always had time for you," said Mark Grant, who was his partner in the broadcast booth. 

Grant described his friend with these words: "Class … a gentleman's gentleman, a guy's guy and the most humble human being I've ever met. He was a hero to me."

"The Colonel," as he was called, was a combat pilot in World War II and in Korea. The statue memorializes his service to the country. 

He was a hero outside of baseball, a fact not lost on his peers. Retired Padres star closer Trevor Hoffman told 10News, "From manager to our beloved voice for so many years, he's somebody that a lot of folks looked up to."

He recalled a man who "never expected anything but hard work and hard play and respected you for that and I think at the end of the day, guys understood that he had our back and really enjoyed seeing him around the field.  A tremendous career, a storied career in baseball with the Yankees stands on its own but as a person … the fact that he served our country so brilliantly and so gallantly, he commanded a lot of respect on that level as well."

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