Jerry Coleman was an integral part of the New York Yankees championship teams in the 1950s. Long before his Hall of Fame broadcasting career began with the Padres, Coleman joined Casey Stengel’s squad in 1949 as a second baseman. His offensive and defensive skills helped the Yankees make six World Series appearances, winning four rings. After winning the Rookie of the Year Award, Coleman earned his only All-Star berth in 1950. That same year, Coleman shined as World Series MVP with a stellar glove. He also drove home the winning run in Game 3.
Marty Appel, long associated with the Yankees as a publicist, producer and author, tells Tuned In that Coleman was the perfect player in Stengel’s world.
“He could play three positions and like Gil McDougald, gave Casey a lot of maneuverability for his system of platoon baseball,” Appel says. “A clutch player, a fine team man, and one of the ‘greatest generation,’ for his service to his country in two wars.”
His playing time was cut short because of flying hours with the Marine Corps during World War II and the Korean War.
Coleman would get another opportunity with the Yanks, beginning a seven-season stint as television play-by-play voice in 1963 on WPIX. There were a couple of pennant winning teams early for Coleman to announce, ahead of the late 1960s doldrums in the Bronx. However, one moment got everyone out of their seats when Mickey Mantle hit his 500th home run in May 1967.