“FENWAY'S BEST PLAYERS”
Ken Coleman was born on April 22, 1925, in Quincy, Mass. For two decades, he 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.
Ken 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.
Ken 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, he got a job with the Boston Red Sox, replacing Curt Gowdy. He broadcast the 1967 World Series for NBC television and radio. He called Sox games on either radio and/or television 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.
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.
On October 1, 1989, Coleman ended his final game behind the mike by thanking “the fans of New England for their support, their friendship, their patience and loyalty over the years” and for the Jimmy Fund, “which has been a most meaningful part of my professional life.” He concluded: “This is Ken Coleman, rounding third and heading home.”
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.
On August 21, 2003, Ken Coleman passed away after being treated for complications of bacterial meningitisat, at age 78, in Plymouth, Mass.