For Choo Choo Coleman, a homecoming long delayed

From SABR member Nick Diunte at on January 21, 2012:

Fifty years later, out of all of the members of the inaugural 1962 New York Mets team, the details about the life and career of catcher Clarence “Choo Choo” Coleman have remained mysterious, as he disappeared from the public spotlight after leaving baseball.

The 76-year-old Coleman returned to New York for the first time in 45 years for a series of appearances at various memorabilia shows this weekend and Tuesday’s Baseball Assistance Team Dinner at the Marriott Marquis.

The usually reserved former catcher invited me to meet with him Friday evening after arriving in New York to illuminate the career of one of the most beloved members of the 1962 Mets.

How did he get the nickname “Choo Choo?” It was something he had long before professional baseball.

“Growing up in Orlando, I was small and fast, like a choo-choo train, and so it went,” he said.

Coleman cut his teeth in professional baseball during the 1955 season, signing with the Washington Senators Class D affiliate in his hometown of Orlando, Fla.

“A friend of mine played for them. He told me about it. I talked to the people, tried out and made the team,” said Coleman.

Read the full article here:

Related link: Deconstructing the Legend of Choo Choo (New York Times, January 24)

Join us: Mets 50th anniversary panel discussion is part of our New York City festivities on SABR Day, Saturday, January 28; all are welcome

Originally published: January 24, 2012. Last Updated: January 24, 2012.