Baseball history at San Diego Padres Hall of Fame.

Baseball fans check out cool exhibits inside the San Diego Padres Hall of Fame at Petco Park.
Baseball fans check out cool historical exhibits inside the San Diego Padres Hall of Fame at Petco Park.

Lovers of baseball history and fans of the San Diego Padres would definitely enjoy visiting the new Padres Hall of Fame at Petco Park. Inside, one can see many great exhibits concerning baseball in San Diego.

I checked out the Padres Hall of Fame last weekend during the Celebrate San Diego event. Here’s just a small preview of what you’ll see…

Historical photo shows first recorded game of baseball in San Diego. It took place on May 6, 1871.
Historical photo shows first recorded game of baseball in San Diego. It took place on May 6, 1871.
The first box score in the San Diego Union in 1874, and a 1907 photo showing local team posing in front of the Pickwick Theatre in downtown San Diego.
The first box score in the San Diego Union in 1874, and a 1907 photo showing local team posing in front of the Pickwick Theatre in downtown San Diego.
Old photo of baseball game being played in 1910 at Athletic Park in Barrio Logan.
Old photo of baseball game being played in 1910 at Athletic Park near the shipyards.
Babe Ruth poses with a bat during an exhibition tour at Balboa Stadium in 1927.
Babe Ruth poses with a bat during an exhibition tour at Balboa Stadium in 1927.
Padres fans check out lots of photos and cool artifacts which recall the history of baseball in San Diego. On the left are photos of the first Padres team in 1936, and Lane Field.
Padres fans check out lots of photos and cool artifacts which recall the history of baseball in San Diego. On the left are photos of the first Padres team in 1936, and Lane Field.
Photo of young Ted Williams, who joined the Padres after graduating from Hoover High School. He helped the Padres win the Pacific Coast League title in 1937.
Photo of young Ted Williams, who joined the Padres after graduating from Hoover High School. He helped the Padres win the Pacific Coast League title in 1937.
Souvenir program for the opening game of the 1939 season in the Pacific Coast League. San Diego Padres versus Oakland Oaks.
Souvenir program for the opening game of the 1939 season in the Pacific Coast League. San Diego Padres versus Oakland Oaks.
1954 photo of big celebration parade along Broadway in downtown San Diego. The Padres finished first in the Pacific Coast League.
1954 photo of big celebration parade along Broadway in downtown San Diego. The Padres finished first that year in the Pacific Coast League.
Autographed Padres team ball from 1954, and the home run ball smashed by Bill Elliot in the one game playoff to win the PCL championship.
Autographed Padres team ball from 1954, and the home run ball smashed by Bill Elliot in the one game playoff to win the PCL championship.
Old baseball program from the 1959 Pacific Coast League All Star Game.
Old baseball program from the 1959 Pacific Coast League All Star Game.
Photos of legendary radio broadcaster Jerry Coleman, who began a 42-year career in 1972, and Nate Colbert who that year hit five home runs in a Padres baseball double header.
Photos of legendary radio broadcaster Jerry Coleman, who began a 42-year career in 1972, and Nate Colbert who that year hit five home runs in a Padres baseball double header.
The National League Cy Young Award, presented to Padres pitcher Randy Jones in 1976.
The National League Cy Young Award, presented to Padres pitcher Randy Jones in 1976.
Souvenir program for the 1978 All-Star Game played in San Diego Stadium.
Souvenir program for the 1978 All-Star Game played in San Diego Stadium.
It's the world famous mascot, the San Diego Chicken!
It’s the world famous mascot, the San Diego Chicken!
1981 photo shows future superstar Tony Gwynn signing with the San Diego Padres.
1981 photo shows future superstar Tony Gwynn signing with the San Diego Padres.
Memories from the 1984 season. I was a young man, who was very excited watching the Padres defeat the Chicago Cubs to win the National League pennant.
Memories from the 1984 season. I was a young man, who was very excited watching the Padres defeat the Chicago Cubs to win the National League pennant.
Tony Gwynn baseball jersey that honored Ray Krok, beloved Padres owner, who passed away in 1984.
Tony Gwynn baseball jersey that honored Ray Krok, beloved Padres owner, who passed away in 1984.
1987 Rawlings Gold Glove Award, presented to Tony Gwynn, The Finest in the Field.
1987 Rawlings Gold Glove Award, presented to Tony Gwynn, The Finest in the Field.
In 1994 Tony Gwynn won the Silver Slugger Award. He batted .394 in a season cut short by a player strike.
In 1994 Tony Gwynn won the Silver Slugger Award. He batted .394 in a season cut short by a player strike.
In 1996 Ken Caminiti was voted National League MVP and Gwynn hit .353 to win a seventh batting title.
In 1996 Ken Caminiti was voted National League MVP and Gwynn hit .353 to win a seventh batting title.
Legendary reliever Trevor Hoffman's jersey on display in the Padres Hall of Fame at Petco Park. He helped the Padres win the 1998 National League pennant.
Legendary reliever Trevor Hoffman’s jersey on display in the Padres Hall of Fame at Petco Park. He helped the Padres win the 1998 National League pennant.
Trevor Hoffman becomes the all-time Major League Baseball saves leader in 2006.
Trevor Hoffman becomes the all-time Major League Baseball saves leader in 2006.
Photo of Ted Williams, member of the PCL San Diego Padres.
Photo of Ted Williams, member of the PCL San Diego Padres.
Photos of two Padres legends. Dave Winfield and Jerry Coleman.
Photos of two Padres legends. Dave Winfield and Jerry Coleman.
A display board inside the Padres Hall of Fame shows the team's all-time leaders in various categories.
A display board inside the Padres Hall of Fame shows the team’s all-time leaders in various categories.
The San Diego Padres Hall of Fame at Petco Park will rekindle warm memories for dedicated hometown baseball fans.
The San Diego Padres Hall of Fame at Petco Park will rekindle warm memories for dedicated hometown baseball fans.

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Photos of Jerry Coleman public memorial service.

Jerry Coleman, a life well lived.
Jerry Coleman, a life well lived.

Today, an estimated 5000 people turned out for the public memorial service celebrating the life of the late Jerry Coleman.  The service took place at Petco Park, home of the San Diego Padres.  “The Colonel” had been the central figure in the Padres baseball organization for over four decades.  Jerry’s broadcasting voice will be missed by generations of fans.  An excellent argument can be made that he was the most loved public figure in the history of our city.

I apologize that my camera isn’t of the highest quality.  I do hope you enjoy a few images that I captured.

Crowd enters Petco Park for Jerry Coleman memorial service.
Crowd enters Petco Park for Jerry Coleman memorial service.
Petco Park screens show photos of Colonel Coleman.
Petco Park screens show photos of Colonel Coleman.
San Diegans fill Petco to demonstrate their love for Jerry.
San Diegans fill Petco to demonstrate their love for Jerry.
The colors are presented while everyone stands.
The colors are presented while everyone stands.
Dick Enberg remembers the late Jerry Coleman.
Dick Enberg remembers the late Jerry Coleman.

Dick Enberg noted that the stage was located on Jerry’s favorite spot: second base.  After the playing of the National Anthem by the Marine Band, F-18 fighter jets roared overhead in the missing man formation.

Fan holds up a star to honor Jerry Coleman.
Fan holds up a star to honor Jerry Coleman.
Tim Flannery sings his own composition about Jerry Coleman.
Tim Flannery sings his own composition about Jerry Coleman.

After speeches by Randy Jones, Bob Chandler, Ron Fowler and Ron Roberts, fan-favorite former Padres player Tim Flannery sang his own stirring composition about Jerry Coleman, the man who hung the stars.

Padres fan reads about a hero's many accomplishments.
Padres fan reads about a hero’s many accomplishments.
JC in a star on the scoreboard, and on next year's uniforms.
JC in a star on the scoreboard, and on next year’s uniforms.
Joe Torre represents Major League Baseball at Coleman memorial.
Joe Torre represents Major League Baseball at Coleman memorial.

Joe Torre received great applause when he related a few humorous and touching old Yankees stories, and spoke of Jerry Coleman’s heroism and humility.

Ted Leitner gives memorable and emotional keynote speech.
Ted Leitner gives memorable, emotional keynote speech.

Ted Leitner, Jerry’s broadcast partner for many years, brought laughter and tears with his intimate accounts of a baseball legend’s modest personality and funny quirks.  He concluded that Jerry Coleman was the best man he’d ever known.

Marines fire guns to salute a true hero.
Marines fire guns to salute a true hero.

After a salute by the Marine Corps, a T-6 SNJ aircraft from 1942, similar to the one Coleman flew in World War II passed overhead to honor the former Marine.

Jerry’s daughter Chelsea then spoke about her dad.  She said that all he really lived for was his country, the game of baseball, and the people he loved.  Dick Enberg concluded the memorial by saying that we all were fortunate to be part of the legacy of Jerry Coleman.

Celebrating a life well lived.
Celebrating a life well lived.

Why I loved Jerry Coleman.

Jerry Coleman in Padres broadcast booth.
Jerry Coleman in Padres broadcast booth from http://www.newstimes.com.

I loved the cheerful voice of Jerry Coleman.  The good humor, dignity and optimism it conveyed during Padres broadcasts were an important part of my life.  I listened to that voice for over thirty years.

Jerry Coleman was a remarkable man.  He was both a genuine war hero and genuine baseball superstar.  There was nothing phony or inflated about his life achievements.  And he remained humble.  He didn’t have a trace of conceit.  He simply loved life, his family and country.

In a world where many self-centered people are hungry for fame, and make fools of themselves to achieve it, I think it was the humility of this truly legendary man that made him so loved by ordinary San Diegans.  That and his simple good humor.

I never met him.  But losing Jerry Coleman feels like losing a friend.

Rest in Peace hero Jerry Coleman, 1924-2014.

Hang a star on that hero! Thank you for everything Jerry!
Hang a star on that hero! Thank you for everything Jerry!

A great hero.

A great player.

A great broadcaster.

A great man.

Flowers mark the passing of San Diego's beloved Jerry Coleman.
Flowers mark the passing of San Diego’s beloved Jerry Coleman.

Jerry Coleman memorial statue at Petco Park.

jerry coleman statue at petco park

Another very well-liked person in San Diego is Padres radio announcer Jerry Coleman. His accomplishments have been so impressive, he’s got a statue and memorial at Petco Park, just inside the east entrance to the Park at the Park.

I remembering listening to Jerry when I was a kid. At the time he did the Padres radio play-by-play, and was teamed with Dave Campbell who provided color commentary. Today, at the lively age of 89, he takes part in the broadcast during day games.

Jerry, also known as “The Colonel”, was named major league baseball Rookie of the Year in 1949 as Yankees second baseman. In 1950 his defensive plays made him most valuable player in the World Series.

As a Marine aviator, Lieutenant Colonel Jerry Coleman interrupted his baseball career to serve in the Korean War. He flew 120 combat missions and received two Distinguished Flying Crosses. He also flew during World War II, making him the only major league baseball player to serve in two wars.

Jerry, famous for his enthusiastic phrases “Oh, Doctor!” and “You can hang a star on that baby!” was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 2007.

The face of a true American hero.
The face of a true American hero.