San Diego Padres baseball announcer Jerry Coleman passed away at the age of 89 on Sunday, family friends confirmed.
Padres president Mike Dee said Coleman died at a hospital Sunday afternoon. He added that the team was notified by Coleman's wife, Maggie.
"It's hard to put into words what Jerry meant to this franchise," Dee said.
U.S. & World
Coleman spent more than 70 years in pro baseball, a career that included four World Series titles with the New York Yankees and was interrupted by World War II and the Korean War, when he served as a Marine Corps pilot. He flew 120 missions combined in the two wars.
Baseball commentator Bob Chandler worked alongside Coleman for over four decades and said Coleman's life was so much more than just baseball.
"I mean, he really cut short his baseball career for the second World War, and the Korean War. The Korean War is really what ended his career. Flying in one of his missions, his best friend was in an airplane right in front of his and he got blown out of the sky."
Coleman was famous for phrases like "oh, doctor" and "you can hang a star on that one, baby." He served as a radio announcer for the Padres since 1972, except for 1980, when he was the Padres Manager.
The Padres released this statement late Sunday:
"The San Diego Padres are deeply saddened by the news today of the passing of Jerry Coleman. We send our heartfelt sympathy to the entire Coleman family, including his wife, Maggie, his children and grandchildren. On behalf of Padres' fans everywhere, we mourn the loss of a Marine who was truly an American hero as well as a great man, a great friend and a great Padre."
Fans brought flowers and objects that remind them of the legendary sports broadcaster to San Diego's Petco Park where officials opened the gates to allow people to come and pay their respects to Coleman late Sunday.
According to fans who spoke to NBC San Diego, baseball just won't be the same without Coleman.
"There were times we would turn down the TV to listen to him on the radio. At the games we'd have him on the radio," said fan Teri Carlson. "The man was amazing."