Tuesday, October 27, 2009

World Series connection

You might think 59 years is a long time.

To Jerry Coleman, it's just a blip between World Series involving the Yankees and the Phillies.

Win money from your friends by asking who won the Most Valuable Player award the last time the Yankees and Phillies met in the Fall Classic.

Not DiMaggio, Berra or Ford.

Not Rizzuto, Mize or Ashburn.

Not Raschi, Reynolds or Roberts.

They didn't stand a chance, not with Coleman, the skinny second-baseman known for his fielding prowess, knocking out the big hits for the Bronx Bombers.

Marilyn Monroe picked the wrong Yankee.

"Somebody had to carry the wand. Those turkeys and old-timers couldn't do it," Coleman cracked today.

He added: "It was 59 years ago. I was in my fifth career."

Harry Truman was president of the United States, the year was 1950 and the Cold War was rumbling in Korea.

Coleman was happy to be on a ballfield, instead of the cockpit of a divebomber. As a pilot, he had served in World War II, a role the Korean War would reprise.

Back to the baseball in the October sunlight. The Yankees won the Series in a sweep, outscoring the Phillies 11-5. The series opened at Shibe Park in Philadelphia, where the Yankees eked out victories by scores of 1-0 and 2-1. Games 3 and 4 drew crowds of 64,505 and 68,098 to Yankee Stadium.

Coleman had the only RBI in Game 1, off a sacrifice fly that scored Bobby Brown.

With his third hit of the afternoon, knocking home Gene Woodling with two outs in the ninth inning, he settled Game 3.

"It was a shot to left field where you could see the vapor trail coming off the ball," Coleman said, smiling.

"In the fourth game, I rested."

Players received a World Series bonus payment of $5,400 -- a sum that Coleman recalls a lot more clearly than the gift he got for being named MVP of the series.

"I think I got a plaque," he said. "My daughter has it. You'll have to check with her. I don't know what the hell it is."

The Padres aren't in the World Series, so when Coleman, one of their longtime broadcasters, tunes into the telecast Wednesday from his home in La Jolla, he'll be cheering for the Yankees to win their 27th World Series title.

"I'm rooting for them, period," he said. "The Phillies might have a little more pitching, I don't know."


  1. This makes me like baseball again

  2. As usual, excellent article. How do we get you employed in SD again?