What a great idea, gang--and it's not ours. A longtime Padres fan passed it along in response to the "who's next" post after Hoffman's 51 was retired.
No. 42 -- Coleman's jersey number with the Yankees -- has been retired by every ballclub to honor Jackie Robinson.
That's good because it's the gold star that is synonymous with Coleman.
Invite the baseball world to Petco Park for a Jerry Coleman Day next season, then hang a star near the retired numbers. While you're at it, name a military section after the Colonel and class up the media area by calling it the Jerry Coleman Press Box.
A pregame ceremony like the "This is your life" event for Hoffman would the clincher. Just make sure Yogi Berra is there.
Let's not use the "r" word, lest we provoke the former Marine, who says he feels like he is missing out when he's not working. The Colonel is up at 5:30 every morning for his walk in La Jolla.
As his first year of not traveling with the Padres comes to an end, he's not missing the airplane rides and hotel stays, however.
"I've been running as fast as I can for 70 years," he told me this summer. "I'll be 87 in September."
Two weeks hence, he'll likely be calling Padres games in San Francisco, his old hometown. If only a Star Trek machine could beam him to and from all the road ballparks, allowing him to see the games. Otherwise, you're just viewing them.
"Watching it on television you don't get the same feel," said Coleman, the radio voice of the Padres for the last 39 years, including 31 seasons with Ted Leitner. "When you're into this business of watching every game, you see things that you would never see otherwise."
From the private box the Padres reserved for him, he keeps score of the some 55 home games that he doesn't call.
"These people have been beyond belief nice to me -- Tom Garfinkel, Jeff Moorad," he said.
"What can I say? You find me somebody older than me in baseball, I'd like to know who he is. Even the commissioner can't match me," he said, laughing. "A lot of these kids that are playing weren't even born when I quit in '57."