After graduating from high school in 1942, Jerry Coleman traveled three days by train from San Francisco to Wellsville, N.Y., to report to the New York Yankees' Class D affiliate.
Still 17, he was too young to enlist and fight in World War II, so he got to spend the summer playing ball.
It was the start of his 70 years in pro baseball, a career that included four World Series titles with the Yankees and was interrupted by World War II and the Korean War, when he served as a Marine Corps pilot.
On Saturday, the San Diego Padres will honor his long career in baseball by unveiling a statue of Coleman at Petco Park.
Coleman, who turned 88 on Friday, calls it ''the greatest honor I've ever had.''