From the sandlots of London, Ontario to Yankee Stadium, Frank Colman’s baseball odyssey was a remarkable one. A star pitcher with a potent bat, Colman won the Intercounty League’s batting crown and MVP award, while leading his hometown London Majors to a championship in 1936. His efforts would attract the interest of several pro clubs, including the International League’s Toronto Maple Leafs who would convert him into an outfielder in 1941. After hitting .300 with the Leafs in 1942, Colman’s contract was purchased by the Pittsburgh Pirates. He toiled with the Pirates for parts of five seasons, including 1944, when he hit .270 and knocked in 53 runs in just 252 at bats.
In 1946, the New York Yankees signed him, and Colman would make his pinstripes debut on September 22 that year, the same day as Yogi Berra. Manning right field in the second game of a doubleheader, he recorded a home run, single and walk in three plate appearances. The Canuck outfielder, who roomed with Berra, also belted two pinch-hit homers for the 1947 World Champion Bronx Bombers.
Colman would return to the minors the following season and eventually re-sign with the Maple Leafs, where he would serve as a player-coach from 1951 to 1953. He would return to his birth city in 1954 to fulfill a similar role with the London Majors. The following year he would purchase the Majors and guide them to a championship in 1956. In 1955, he co-founded London’s Eager Beaver Baseball Association (EBBA), a minor ball organization that’s now one of the most respected in the country. Colman was inducted into the London Sports Hall of Fame in 2005.
Career Major League Statistics
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