Thoughts from the executive

January 05, 2014

I was the other 42

A very special friend of the Jackie Robinson Family YMCA, Jerry Coleman, the legendary broadcaster for the San Diego Padres often called himself "the other number 42" for the New York Yankees when Jackie Robinson wore number 42 for the Brooklyn Dodgers.

It was in January of 1997 when the San Diego Padres built the first Little Padres Park at the Jackie Robinson Family YMCA in honor of Major League Baseball's 50th anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking it’s color barrier. Three $1,000 scholarships were awarded that year, then I was hired in October of 1997 and asked “what about the tribute & scholarship gala?”

Jerry Coleman guaranteed that this event will continue every year. And thanks to Jerry, over the eighteen year history, we have now awarded over 160 scholarships to college bound high school seniors that either live in or go to school in our Southeastern San Diego service area. In addition, close to $3,000,000 has been contributed to support families in need of financial assistance for Y camp, sports, and swim programs.

Jerry has served as the Honorary Chairman of the Annual Jackie Robinson Tribute & Scholarship Dinner for each of its 17 years. This year’s event is April 26, 2014 at the Sheraton Harbor Island.

Jerry also chaired our Safe At Home Hall of Fame Capital Campaign Cabinet with Dave Winfield, Kellen Winslow, Tony Gwynn, Marshall Faulk, Dick Vitale, and Bill Walton. This HOF line-up has helped raise over $10.5 million towards our $16 million goal to build a new YMCA in our current location. Here's what Jerry had to say about this very special opportunity:

Sixty one years I’ve been in baseball. I’ve played and worked with some of the all-time legends, like Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Ted Williams and Dave Winfield. Right near the top of that list was Jackie Robinson, who not only broke records, he shattered the barriers. He not only made a big difference in the game, he forever changed baseball. Jackie led, so that players like Satchel Paige, Willie Mays and Hank Aaron could follow. But Jackie’s contribution shouldn’t be measured on his batting average. It’s much bigger than that. Jackie wanted to make a difference in the lives of at-risk kids—with mentoring programs and scholarships for deserving youth.

Join me as we fight that good fight - to give a better future to our kids. When it comes to our kids, we all have to pitch in.

Jerry Coleman
2005 National Baseball Hall of Fame
San Diego Padres Hall of Fame

You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give. Jerry Coleman gave all he had to give because he believed in life and the bounty of life. Through his hands God has spoken, and from behind his eyes He has smiled upon the earth. We can all "hang a star on that baby!"

May God give his family and all of us that loved "The Colonel" the strength to continue living our lives in that same blessed spirit.

Jerry thanks for spending your heaven doing good on earth for kids and families served by the Jackie Robinson Family YMCA. Oh, Doctor, God has your star waiting for you. "Well done, good and faithful servant!"

Padres legend Jerry Coleman has died
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War hero won four titles with Yankees, called games in NY, San Diego
Brock on Jerry Coleman's legacy

Tribute. In memory of Jerry Coleman, the star atop the Christmas tree of lights at the Jackie Robinson Family YMCA will remain lit for 42 nights. "The Colonel" never missed an opportunity to serve others before self.

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  1. “Mike, Well written from the heart. I have been a Jerry fan since he arrived, even through the manager year. I was glad to see tributes in the San Francisco Chronicle, including one from one of his childhood friends. My daughter tells me that the New York press told his story well. My best to Mariana and the rest of the family.”

    Tom Sweet January 07, 2014 at 10:00pm Permalink

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