Willie Mays and the Reds' Gordy Coleman were the only two guys you didn't throw curveballs to.
- Tim McCarver
When the Reds traded popular, longtime second baseman Johnny Temple to the Cleveland Indians in December of 1959 for second baseman Billy Martin, pitcher Cal McLish and first baseman Gordy Coleman, it was something of a surprise that Coleman ended up being the key player in the deal for the Reds. Both Martin and McLish were off to other clubs after one season while Coleman established himself as the Reds' starting first baseman during the pennant-winning season of 1961 and held down the position for much of the next five years.
A fine defensive first baseman with a powerful left-handed bat, Coleman swatted 26 home runs in Cincinnati's unexpected title season of 1961 and his fourth inning, two-run home run in the fourth inning of the Reds' 6-2 victory over the Yankees in Game 2 of the World Series was only the second home run hit by a Reds batter in postseason play. Coleman followed his breakout 1961 season with another strong campaign in 1962, belting a career-high 28 home runs and driving in 86 as the Reds finished a strong third in the NL with a 98-64 record. Injuries beset Coleman beginning in 1963 and plagued him until his career ended in 1967.
After retiring as an active player, Coleman became an integral part of the Reds' front office, helping to establish the Reds Speakers Bureau, through which he made countless personal appearances on behalf of the club in towns large and small throughout Reds country. In 1990, the gregarious Coleman joined the Reds television broadcast team as a color commentator, a position he held until his untimely death at age 59 from a heart attack on March 12, 1994.