They usually show movies on a flight like that!

I was 5 years old when I really started paying attention to the Red Sox. That was in 1967, and my hero was Yaz. Just the year before, some guy named Ken Coleman replaced the legendary Curt Gowdy as the play-by-play announcer for the Sox. From 1966 to 1971, Coleman and his partner, Ned Martin (who died last year), were the radio and TV voices for my baseball team. Then, he left and went to work in Cincinnati. He was broadcasting to Grump and his Reds during the ’75 Series. In 1979, he returned, and until he retired in 1989, worked with Jon Miller, then Joe Castiglione on Sox radio.

Ken Coleman died yesterday. He was 78.

Gowdy, Coleman, Martin, Miller, Castiglione… Johnny Pesky, Dick Stockton, Ken Harrelson, Bob Montgomery, Sean McDonough, Bob Starr. There’s a list of all the Red Sox broadcasters since 1927 at

Until 1994, when I left Maine, these were the voices in my head. They were there in the car, in the garage, in the kitchen, in the bedroom and in the living room. They went with us on our summer ice cream runs and on long drives to my grandparents’ house. They were there when I went camping and when I snuck out of bed to watch a late game with my dad.

Whenever the Sox were the Game of the Week on national TV, Dad would turn down the sound on the TV and listen to the radio. The guys who covered a different game each week didn’t cut it. He wanted to listen to our guys. They knew us, suffered with us. They were on our side.

Good bye, Mr. Coleman. Thanks for being there.

The title of this post is taken from his most common home run call.

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7 Responses to They usually show movies on a flight like that!

  1. michele says:

    No snarky comments from this Yankee fan.

    Play-by-play broadcasters hold a special place in the memories of sports fans.

    Rest well, Ken.

  2. Linkmeister says:

    Ain’t that the truth, Michele. I grew up listening to Vin Scully and Jerry Doggett in LA. It’s still a treat to turn on Fox Sports West and hear Vinnie doing a Dodgers game.

    RIP, Mr. Coleman.

  3. Ric The Schmuck says:

    I echo ol’ Sol on this issue (except that I still live here, dammit!). Something that many might not know is that today is the annual Jimmy Fund Radio-thon in New England. (We had ours locally a couple of weeks ago.) The Jimmy Fund has been the official charity of the Boston Red Sox since the Braves left town in the 50’s. It raises money to fight cancer, through the Dana Farber Institute in Boston, one of the leaders in cancer research. It wasn’t the same, today, though…
    Were he alive today, as he was yesterday morning, Ken Coleman would have been involved in the radio-thon. From wherever he was, be it home, or in a hospital bed. He was there for them, at all times, whenever duty called. As most of you know, I live in Bangor, Maine, which is a small city, far removed from Boston. Yet every year, when our local Jimmy Fund radio-thon was held, Ken Coleman, THE Ken Coleman, was a part of it, many years actually travelling to Bangor to do the appearance live, instead of over the phone. It was those apprearances that solidified Ken Coleman in the baseball pantheon for me. He was fantastic to listen to, doing the games, as Sol and I grew up. He was fantastic to listen to, up to and including last year, talking about The Jimmy Fund, as well as general baseball talk, both current events and “the good old days”. He was a treasure, another one of those that we took for granted, and now he’s gone. And that makes me quite sad. Rest well, Ken Coleman. (And go kick Babe Ruth square in the ass, and tell him enough with this curse!)

  4. SgtGrump says:

    Actually, I barely remember him. I was out-of-state (US Air Farce) in ’71-’75. Then after returning home (greater Cincinnati area), when I’d watch the Reds on TV, I *always* turned the sound off and listened to Marty & Joe on Reds Radio…

    Marty Brennaman: Baseball Hall of Fame broadcaster.

    Joe Nuxhall: Youngest player ever in Majors (age 15 in 1944); 16 years in the Majors (15 with the Reds). Odd fact: The only year he wasn’t with the Reds is the only year during that span that they went to the World Series (1961).

  5. Brian says:

    I meant to post about this last week, but I think you’ve said it best. Anyone who grew up in New England in the 1960s and 70s, whether you were a baseball fan or not, knew Ken Coleman’s voice when you heard it on the radio.

    Well said.

  6. Carnival of the Vanities #49

    Greetings, ladies and gentlemen

  7. Carnival of the Vanities #49

    Greetings, ladies and gentlemen

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