Vincent Maurice Coleman
(Vincent Van Go; Man of Steal)
- Bats Both, Throws Right
- Height 6' 0", Weight 185 lb.
- School Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University
- Debut April 18, 1985
- Final Game April 14, 1997
- Born September 22, 1961 in Jacksonville, FL USA
Coleman played 13 seasons in the big leagues and stole over 750 bases. This number is made even more remarkable in light of the fact that he collected only 1,425 base hits. He won the 1985 National League Rookie of the Year Award and led the league in steals in each of his first six major league seasons, tying Maury Wills' National League record for most consecutive years leading the league in steals. He set the record for most stolen bases by a rookie with 110 in 1985; Juan Samuel had set the record two years earlier, and Tim Raines only two years before that. Surprisingly, Coleman does not own the Cardinals' franchise record for most steals in a season: Lou Brock stole 118 bases in 1974. He held the all-time minor league record for stolen bases in a season, swiping 145 for the Macon Redbirds in 1982; the previous mark of 122 had been set only a year earlier by Jeff Stone. His mark was broken in 2012 by Billy Hamilton.
Vince was not much of a hitter, and was once criticized by manager Whitey Herzog for having few RBI one season. Although a speedster, he played mostly left field instead of center field and never won a Gold Glove.
Coleman appeared in the 1987 World Series, stealing six bases. However, he missed the 1985 World Series because of a freak injury suffered in the NLCS: in one of the stranger incidents in baseball history, on October 13th, Coleman was injured by a tarpaulin machine. Before Game 4 of the NLCS, Coleman was on the field when the decision was made to cover the field because of a light rain. Coleman failed to notice that the mechanical tarp roller had come on to the field to keep the infield dry. The tarp machine rolled over Coleman's leg, chipping a bone in his knee and badly bruising his leg, and ending his season. The Cardinals won the series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, 4 games to 2. Coleman's replacement, Tito Landrum, hit .378 (14 for 37) and contributed strongly in the remaining 10 postseason games, though the loss of Coleman was frequently blamed for the Cardinals' seven-game loss to the Kansas City Royals in the World Series. This incident is one instance of the perceived "Curse of Butch Yatkeman".
In spite of having a 13-year major league career, Coleman is in the odd circumstance of being the major leaguer out of Florida A&M with the fewest seasons (through 2008). The other players, Andre Dawson, Hal McRae and Marquis Grissom, all had even longer careers.
Coleman was hired by the Houston Astros as an outfield/baserunninng "development specialist" assigned to the Quad Cities River Bandits in 2013-2014. In 2015, he moved to the Chicago White Sox as a baserunning coach active at both the minor league and major league levels.
He is the cousin of former NFL punter Greg Coleman. Like Greg, Vince was a punter at Florida A&M.
- 1985 NL Rookie of the Year Award
- 1985 Topps All-Star Rookie Team
- 2-time NL All-Star (1988 & 1989)
- 6-time NL Stolen Bases Leader (1985-1990)
- 100 Runs Scored Seasons: 2 (1985 & 1987)
- 50 Stolen Bases Seasons: 7 (1985-1990 & 1994)
- 100 Stolen Bases Seasons: 3 (1985-1987)
|NL Rookie of the Year|
|Dwight Gooden||Vince Coleman||Todd Worrell|