The new Jerry Coleman Award honors a Marine Noncommissioned Officer who possesses outstanding leadership and unyielding support for the United States Marine Corps and the United States of America.
While many know Bob Feller as one of the greatest pitchers to ever grace the baseball diamond, few remember that he also served our country, when he made the selfless decision to enlist just days after the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, becoming the first professional athletes to do so. The Foundation uses the Bob Feller story to educate the youth of today the lessons of citizenship, service, sacrifice and legacy.
Once Jerry Coleman turned 18, he postponed his baseball career, joined the Marine Corps as a Naval Aviation Cadet. In World War II, Coleman flew 57 combat missions and in the Korean War flew 63 close air support and interdiction strike missions, making him the only major league player to see combat in two wars. Jerry Coleman was selected into the National Baseball Hall of Fame as the Ford C. Frick Award recipient as a broadcaster in 2005. Coleman, despite all the success he had in his life, was the proudest of being a Marine.
"The legacies of Bob Feller, Jerry Coleman and the greatest generation are embodied throughout these players and their respective clubs, honoring those who serve this great nation, and for this we are forever grateful," said Peter Fertig, President of the Foundation.
The 2015 MLB Player and Hall of Fame Member Bob Feller Act of Valor Award Nominees
NOMINATING CLUB: MLB PLAYER
Arizona Diamondbacks: Brad Ziegler
Baltimore Orioles: Darren O'Day
Boston Red Sox: Dustin Pedroia
Chicago White Sox: Adam LaRoche
Cincinnati Reds: Jay Bruce
Cleveland Indians: Trevor Bauer
Kansas City Royals: Wade Davis
Miami Marlins: Steve Cishek (traded to St. Louis Cardinals 7/24/15)
Milwaukee Brewers: Jonathan Lucroy
Minnesota Twins: Brian Dozier
New York Mets: Curtis Granderson
Oakland Athletics: Sean Doolittle
Pittsburgh Pirates: Charlie Morton
San Diego Padres: Ian Kennedy
Washington Nationals: Craig Stammen
NOMINATING CLUB: HALL OF FAMER
Cleveland Indians: Bob Lemon
Cincinnati Reds: Johnny Bench
Kansas City Royals: George Brett
Miami Marlins: Andre Dawson
Minnesota Twins: Rod Carew
Previous award winners include Justin Verlander, Nick Swisher, Yogi Berra, Tommy Lasorda, Senior Chief Petty Officer Garth Sinclair, and Senior Chief Petty Officer Carl Thompson. Finalists for the active player award will be announced and recognized later this season. Winners in all four categories will be honored in a Veterans Day ceremony in Washington, D.C. at the United States Navy Memorial.
Peter Fertig founded The Bob Feller Act of Valor Award Foundation, a 501(c)(3) tax-‐exempt organization, with the support of the US Navy, the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial, The Cleveland Indians, the Baseball Hall of Fame, and the gracious consent of Mrs. Anne Feller. The Jerry Coleman Award was added this year with the support of the United States Marine Corps, the San Diego Padres and the Coleman Family.