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K. Coleman, 78; Red Sox Radio, TV Announcer

August 22, 2003|From Associated Press

BOSTON — Ken Coleman, the broadcaster whose resonant voice carried Boston Red Sox fans through some of their greatest victories and biggest disappointments, died Thursday. He was 78.

Coleman died at Jordan Hospital in Plymouth, Mass., where he had been treated for complications from bacterial meningitis, according to his son, William Coleman.

A Red Sox broadcaster for most of his long career, Coleman called the team's heartbreaking loss in the 1986 World Series, when a grounder rolled through first baseman Bill Buckner's legs. He was also with Boston through the "Impossible Dream" season in 1967, when the Red Sox made an improbable World Series run before losing to St. Louis.

"He was a great announcer. He should be in the Hall of Fame," said Johnny Pesky, the former Red Sox shortstop who teamed with Coleman in the broadcast booth from 1969 to 1974. "The first thing that strikes you with him was his voice ... a voice as good as any of them."

Coleman, a native of Boston, first had broadcasting ambitions around age 12 when he was shot in the eye with a BB gun and his dreams of becoming a big league pitcher died, his son said.

His first broadcasting job in major league sports was in Cleveland with the Indians and the NFL's Cleveland Browns between 1952 and 1965.

Coleman returned to Boston in 1966, where he and partners Ned Martin and Mel Parnell rotated in three-inning shifts between the radio and television booths.

He left the Red Sox after the 1974 season, when a new station took over rights to Red Sox games, and landed a TV job with the Cincinnati Reds. He returned to the Red Sox broadcast booth in 1979 and stayed until his retirement in 1989. He was inducted into the Red Sox Hall of Fame in 2000.

Besides his son, William, Coleman leaves a son, Casey; three daughters, Kerry, Susan, and Kathleen; and three grandchildren.

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