Ken Coleman

From BR Bullpen

Kenneth R. Coleman

Biographical Information[edit]

Ken Coleman was a long-time broadcaster for the Boston Red Sox. He covered the team's games from 1966 to 1974 and 1979 to 1989, also working on Cleveland Indians broadcasts from 1954 to 1963. He was behind the mike for both the "Impossible Dream" season of 1967 and the 1986 season that also ended in a frustrating World Series loss, but he had been cast aside for the 1975 season, the other chapter in the trilogy of Game 7 World Series losses endured by Red Sox fans in the second half of the 20th century.

He served in the United States Army in World War II, seeing combat in the jungles of Burma but also getting his start on Armes Forces Radio. He took formal oratory training after war and began working on college sports in New England. In 1952 he competed for the Cleveland Browns football team's broadcast job against Lindsey Nelson and got the position when Nelson was hired by NBC instead. From there he naturally moved to the Indians broadcasts, partnering with Jim Britt, before he got an opportunity to move back to the job he really wanted with the Red Sox in 1966, replacing Curt Gowdy, who had been promoted as the voice of NBC's Game of the Week television broadcasts.

At first, he did both radio and television work for the Red Sox, then in 1972 switched to television exclusively. That was his downfall when in 1979 WBZ replaced WHDH as the team's flagship station, and decided to bring in a new crew of broadcasters, including a young Dick Stockton who would use his work in the 1975 World Series to vault to national fame. Meanwhile, Coleman worked on television for the Cincinnati Reds (but ironically, he missed the 1975 Series in that capacity as well, as it was radio broadcaster Marty Brennaman who worked alongside Stockton). In 1979, he returned to Boston, doing radio work for the Red Sox. His partner was Jon Miller and then starting in 1983, Joe Castiglione. He suffered a heart attack after the 1988 season, missed the following year's spring training games but came back for a final season behind the mike, announcing his retirement in mid-year.

The press box at Fenway Park was renamed in his honor. He authored a number of books, including one about the Red Sox's "impossible dream" season.

Further Reading[edit]

  • Ken Coleman: So You Want to Be a Sportscaster: the techniques and skills of sports announcing by one of the country's most experienced broadcasters, Hawthorn Books, Bristol, UK, 1973. ISBN 978-0801569180
  • Ken Coleman: The Impossible Dream Remembered: the 1967 Boston Red Sox, Penguin Books, New York, NY, 1990. ISBN 978-0828907699
  • Ken Coleman and Dab Valenti: Diary of a Sportscaster, Literations, Pittsfield, MA, 1982
  • Ken Coleman and Dab Valenti: Talking on Air: A broadcaster's life in sports, Sports Publishing LLC, Champaign, IL, 2000.
  • Curt Smith: "Ken Coleman", in Bill Nowlin and Leslie Heaphy, ed.: The 1986 Boston Red Sox: There Was More Than Game 6, SABR, Phoenix, AZ, 2016. pp. 300-310. ISBN 978-1-943816-19-4

Related Sites[edit]