Monday, January 20, 2014

Putin vs. Obama, and Jerry Coleman

Tough guy vs. Girlyman. Funny.

Also good for a laugh are these collections of Colemanisms (linked below) - unintentionally comical comments from former baseball player and announcer, Jerry Coleman, who died January 5th at age 89. Someone recently wrote that Coleman was the worst announcer he had ever heard. Having listened to him when he did play by play for the Yankees back in the 60s, I can confirm the accuracy of that statement. Despite his flaws as an announcer, Coleman is enshrined in the broadcaster's wing of the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y. Longevity counts.

"(Dave) Winfield goes back to the wall, he hits his head on the wall and it rolls off! It's rolling all the way back to second base. This is a terrible thing for the Padres."

Several years later, Coleman felt the need to clarify, saying that he meant the ball was rolling, not Winfield's head. No s***.

In his biography of Joe DiMaggio, Richard Ben Cramer wrote of the culture of perfection that DiMaggio helped instill in the New York Yankee clubhouse during his playing days. This intense pressure weighed heavily on younger players like Coleman.

"Any other team," Coleman remembers, "guys would sit at their locker before the game and think: 'I'm gonna do something great today. I'm gonna hit a home run. I'm gonna win the game!'
"But the Yankees were different. Every day you'd think: 'I'm not gonna be the one to make a mistake. I'm not gonna be the guy to screw up and lose this game.'
"By the end of two years, I was eating mush for breakfast. That was the only thing I could keep down before a game."

What's amazing about this is that Coleman is the only major league player to have seen combat in both World War 2 and the Korean War. (Ted Williams served in both wars but did not see combat in WW2). As a Marine pilot, Coleman heroically flew 120 combat missions and faced death on numerous occasions. He was awarded two Distinguished Flying Crosses, 13 Air Medals and three Navy Citations. Yet, he was still unnerved by having to perform as a Yankee baseball player.

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