Coleman given Ford C. Frick Award

Updated: February 23, 2005, 1:54 AM ET
Associated Press

San Diego Padres: Jerry Coleman, the longtime voice of the Padres, was chosen as this year's winner of the Ford C. Frick Award.

Coleman beat out nine other finalists for the prize honoring baseball broadcasters, the Hall of Fame announced.

Known for his trademark call "Oh doctor" and his concise play-by-play calls, Coleman spent nine seasons with the Yankees as a player from 1949-57 before starting his broadcasting career in 1960. An on-air personality for 41 years, Coleman has spent 32 seasons broadcasting for the Padres -- including the past 23.

"Jerry Coleman's name is synonymous with baseball in San Diego after 32 years of calling Padres games," Hall of Fame president Dale Petrosky said.

Coleman played in six World Series and was The Associated Press' rookie of the year in 1949. He was also the MVP of the 1950 World Series.

Coleman, 80, made his broadcasting debut handling pregame interviews for Dizzy Dean and Pee Wee Reese on the CBS Game of the Week. Dean, a Hall of Fame pitcher, was among the finalists Coleman beat out for the award.

In 1963, Coleman joined the Yankees' radio broadcasting team and stayed through 1969. In 1970 he moved to Southern California to host the Angels' pregame show and anchor evening sportscasts on KTLA-TV.

Coleman became the voice of the Padres in 1972, leaving for a one-year stint as the team's manager in 1980. He returned to the broadcast booth after San Diego finished in sixth place.

The 20 voters on the Frick Committee cast their votes by mail in January. Coleman will receive his plaque Aug. 1.

To be considered, an active or retired broadcaster must have a minimum of 10 years of continuous major-league broadcast service with a club, network or a combination of the two.

The award is named in memory of Hall of Famer Ford C. Frick, a sportswriter, radio broadcaster and NL president before becoming baseball commissioner from 1951-65.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: State assemblyman Tom Umberg introduced a bill aimed at the Angels' name change, with team owner Arte Moreno replacing Anaheim before the name with Los Angeles.

The proposed legislation by Umberg, D-Anaheim, would require professional sports teams to print disclaimers on their tickets, advertising and promotional materials if they do not play most of their home games in the geographic location used in their name.

Moreno changed the team's name last month from Anaheim Angels to Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

Umberg's bill is titled the Truth in Sports Advertising Act. The governing body of either the city, county or both where a team plays may exempt the franchise from the requirement.

Washington Nationals: Even though Terrmel Sledge wasn't punished by Major League Baseball when he tested positive for steroids two years ago, the damage to his reputation was more than enough to drive the point home.

"It hurt my family when that came out," the outfielder said in an interview at training camp. "And I'll never put them through that again."

Steroids talk is ubiquitous throughout spring training camps this year -- except among the Nationals, whose excitement over the move to a new city overwhelms all other topics. One player well-suited to offer some perspective is Sledge, whose run-in with baseball authorities seems almost innocuous compared to, say, anything in a Jose Canseco book.

Sledge, who had a promising rookie season with the Expos last year, tested positive for a steroid found in an over-the-counter medicine during a training camp for the U.S. Olympic team in October 2003. He was banned from international competition for two years, but he was not sanctioned by Major League Baseball because penalties for steroid use did not take effect until last year.

Sledge maintains he didn't know the medicine contained steroids. If he did, it would have been irrational for him even to attend the tryout because of the likelihood of being caught under the Olympic program's stringent standards. Also, his string-bean, 6-foot, 185-pound frame offers little evidence that he has ever done much of anything to beef himself up unnaturally.

Sledge said he supports the tougher punishments for steroid use that will take effect this season because they will "level out the playing field" and force players to play "with the talent we're born with." While suspensions or fines might be effective, he said his experience dictates that public humiliation is the bigger deterrent.

If Sledge's practice routine is any indication, he seems determined to hone his natural abilities. He was the last player off the field during a workout last week, departing at least a half-hour after most of his teammates. After some exercises to improve his bunting technique, he went into the outfield and worked meticulously with coaches on the most effective way to charge and scoop a ground ball.

"What got me here was hard work," said Sledge, who didn't make the majors until age 27. "I was overshadowed, considered a little guy. I just try to work hard, to my full potential. Every day I come out here and learn something new. They give us equipment to be better. We might as well as use it."


Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press

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