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Clarence Coleman (1937-2016)

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  • Clarence Coleman (1937-2016)

    Clarence "Choo Choo" Coleman, a catcher wih the inaugural New York Mets team of 1962 has passed away, less than two weeks before his 79th birthday.
    He was signed by the Washington Senators for the 1955 season and in 1958 became the property of the Los Angels Dodgers before another minor league trade took him to the Phillies, where he made his MLB debut in 1961. However, he was much better known for his time with the Mets (1962-1963 and 1966). He made the Phillies 1961 Opening Day roster, but was up and down between the Phils and their AAA affiliate all year, appearing in only 34 major league games. In 1962 he played the entire second half of the season in the majors with the Mets and statisticallt it was his bestseason, where he compiled a record of 6 home runs, 17 RBI and hit .250 in 55 games and 152 at-bats. Given a heavier work load in 1963, Coleman's only full season in the big leagues, his numbers fell off dramatically with 3 home runs, and 9 RBI, while hitting .178 in 108 games and 247 at-bats. Coleman returned to the minor leagues here he stayed for the remainder of his career, except for a 6 game cup of coffee with the Mets in 1966. Coleman was just 28 when he played his last MLB game.
    Baseball publications at the time of his career listed his height at either 5'8" or 5'9" and his weight was listed at either 160 or 165 pounds, making him one of the smaller catchers MLB has seen in the last 70 years or so.
    Coleman's struggles in the big leagues both offensively and defensively were emblematic of the NY Mets fledgling years in the major leagues.
    Last edited by philliesfiend55; 08-16-2016, 09:55 AM.

  • #2
    Originally posted by philliesfiend55 View Post
    Clarence "Choo Choo" Coleman, a catcher wih the inaugural New York Mets team of 1962 has passed away, less than two weeks before his 79th birthday.
    He was signed by the Philadelphia Philllies organization and made his MLB debut as a Phillie in 1961, but was much better known for his time with the Mets (1962-1963 and 1966). He made the Phillies 1961 Opening Day roster, but was up and down between the Phils and their AAA affiliate all year, appearing in only 34 major league games. His first full season in the majors, 1962 with the Mets, was his best one where he compiled a record of 6 home runs, 17 RBI and hit .250 in 55 games and 152 at-bats. Given a heavier work load in 1963, his numbers fell off dramatically with 3 home runs, and 9 RBI, while hitting .178 in 108 games and 247 at-bats. Coleman returned to the minor leagues here he stayed for the remainder of his career, except for a 6 game cup of coffee with the Mets in 1966.
    Coleman's struggles in the big leagues were emblematic of the NY Mets fledgling years in the major leagues.
    Ralph Kiner said Choo Choo was a difficult interview:

    Perhaps the best-known anecdote about Coleman is one that, in later years, he said never happened, though Ralph Kiner, the former slugger and broadcaster, assured The New York Times that it had. In 1962, Kiner interviewed Coleman and asked, “What’s your wife’s name, and what’s she like?” Coleman replied, “Her name is Mrs. Coleman — and she likes me, Bub.”



    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/16/sp...mets.html?_r=0

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    • #3
      Originally posted by mandrake View Post
      Ralph Kiner said Choo Choo was a difficult interview:

      Perhaps the best-known anecdote about Coleman is one that, in later years, he said never happened, though Ralph Kiner, the former slugger and broadcaster, assured The New York Times that it had. In 1962, Kiner interviewed Coleman and asked, “What’s your wife’s name, and what’s she like?” Coleman replied, “Her name is Mrs. Coleman — and she likes me, Bub.”

      Among other Coleman oddities, he was a part-owner and sometimes cook of a Chinese restaurant in (of all places) Newport News, Virginia for about 20 years. (Not familiar with Newport News?) Think of a line between the Norfolk/Virginia Beach area and Colonial Williamsburg and Newport News should be about equidistant from the two areas.

      http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/16/sp...mets.html?_r=0
      Among other Coleman oddities, he was a part-owner and sometimes-cook of a Chinese restaurant in (of all places) Newport News, Virginia. (Not familiar with Newport News? Think of a line connecting the Virginia Beach/Norfolk area with Colonial Williamsburg and Newport News should be right in the middle.)
      Last edited by philliesfiend55; 08-16-2016, 09:56 AM.

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      • #4
        [QUOTE=mandrake;2583022]Ralph Kiner said Choo Choo was a difficult interview:

        Perhaps the best-known anecdote about Coleman is one that, in later years, he said never happened, though Ralph Kiner, the former slugger and broadcaster, assured The New York Times that it had. In 1962, Kiner interviewed Coleman and asked, “What’s your wife’s name, and what’s she like?” Coleman replied, “Her name is Mrs. Coleman — and she likes me, Bub.”
        {/QUOTE]

        Another story is that Coleman was known for his speed. He was a pretty fast runner, especially for a catcher.
        Coleman's manager, Casey Stengel gave Choo Choo the tongue-in-cheek compliment that he never saw a catcher who was so fast at retrieving his passed balls as Coleman.

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