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On January 5, a day that saw the San Diego Chargers advance in the NFL playoffs with a 27-10 win over the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati and the SDSU Aztec men’s basketball team notch its biggest regular-season win by defeating the 16th-ranked Kansas State Jayhawks 61-57 at Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence, Kansas, back home in San Diego, the wins were bittersweet, as the San Diego Padres announced the death of longtime broadcaster and local icon Jerry Coleman.

Team president Mike Dee announced via Coleman’s wife Maggie that the war hero (over 120 missions flown in WWII and the Korean War), World Series champ (four titles with the New York Yankees), and Hall of Fame Broadcaster — famous for his joyous “Oh, Doctor, you can hang a star on that baby!” — died after a brief illness in an area hospital. Coleman was 89.

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aardvark Jan. 6, 2014 @ 1:38 p.m.

It was a kick in the gut yesterday after what had been a great day for San Diego sports. RIP, Jerry.

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David Dodd Jan. 6, 2014 @ 9:46 p.m.

Set aside, for the moment, Jerry Coleman the former New York Yankee, the former decorated pilot in two wars, the former Padres manager and diplomat, and the former broadcaster. Set all of those magnificent accomplishments aside, just for a moment.

For the past two seasons, I had the pleasure and the honor to know the man as a great human being - accomplishments aside. I was lucky enough to have the man sit next to me in the writer's press box when he wasn't on radio. You would not have engaged with a finer human being on this planet. Just, a fine human being if you never knew a single other thing about him.

His wit and sense of humor - and his humility - were amazing. I learned a lot about how people should be from just talking with him. Talking baseball, life, anything at all. I have some great memories to take with me. And I thank the Reader for allowing me that opportunity, even if that wasn't the intent.

Sometimes we travel through life and don't get the opportunity to realize how people touch our lives and how our lives touch other people. Jerry Coleman will always remind me of this now. I will miss him, as a man, and as a great human being, and as a model of how great human beings should be. This is regardless of his baseball career, which we very rarely talked about, and regardless of his stellar record defending his country, which we never talked about, because that's the way he preferred things.

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Duhbya Jan. 7, 2014 @ 1:35 p.m.

Very poignant, as always, Dave. You've venerated the decency of the man in a way that not many would make an effort to, much less even acknowledge the existence thereof. Thank you, truly, for sharing that.

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