“FENWAY'S BEST PLAYERS”
For two decades, Ken Coleman delighted Sox fans with his distinctly deep voice and flair for the dramatic. He called some of the most important moments in team history, including the 1967 pennant clincher, Carl Yastrzemski's 3,000th hit, Yaz's last game in 1983 and Dave Henderson's clutch homer in Game 5 of the 1986 ALCS that helped vault the Sox to their last World Series.
Coleman broke into broadcasting with the NFL Cleveland Browns (1952 - 1965), calling play-by-play of every touchdown that Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown ever scored. He also began his MLB broadcasting career in Ohio, calling Cleveland Indians games on television for ten seasons (1954 - 1963). In his first year with the Indians, he called their record-setting 111-win season and their World Series loss to the New York Giants.
Coleman broadcast college football for various teams, including Ohio State, Harvard, and BU. He was the play-by-play announcer for the 1968 Harvard-Yale football game, a game that will be forever be remembered for the incredible Harvard comeback from a 16-point deficit to tie Yale at 29-29. He also called NFL games for NBC in the early 1970s, and later in his career called Connecticut and Fairfield basketball games for Connecticut Public Television.
In 1965, Coleman got a job with the Boston Red Sox, replacing Curt Gowdy. He broadcast the 1967 World Series (which the Red Sox lost to the St. Louis Cardinals) for NBC television and radio. He called Sox games on either radio or television -- or both -- from 1966 through 1974, when he left to become a broadcaster for the Cincinnati Reds. He returned to the Red Sox in 1979, and remained in their radio booth through 1989.
Perhaps his most memorable call came in April 1967, when Yastrzemski made a terrific diving catch at Yankees Stadium in the ninth inning to rob Tom Tresh and help preserve the no-hitter that was in progress for rookie lefty Billy Rohr. "Flyball to deep left, Yastrzemski is going back, way back, and he dives and makes an outstanding catch," Coleman bellowed at the top of his lungs, yet sounding in control every step of the sentence. The no-hitter was squashed with two outs in the ninth, robbing Rohr a chance to be in the record books. However, his call stood the test of time.
A lifetime honorary trustee of Dana-Farber, he made more than 50 appearances annually at golf tournaments throughout New England for the Jimmy Fund. During his time as director of the charity, Ken also instituted radiothons and helped organize Jimmy Fund councils throughout New England.
Though he hadn't called a game for the Red Sox in 14 summers, he maintained an interest in his hometown team until the end of his life. He never did get to see the Sox win it all, but that never took away the joy he had for his job. He was inducted to the Boston Red Sox Hall of Fame on May 18, 2000.