Former Relief Pitcher and Broadcaster Shares Pirates Anecdotes, History in New Memoir
A captivating storyteller, King has long enjoyed sharing the highlights of his long association with the Pittsburgh Pirates. As a relief pitcher for them from 1954 – 1957, he witnessed many historic moments, and as a broadcaster for Pirates games from 1967 – 1975, King saw, from the inside, the Pirates’ incredible transformation from a struggling team to 1971 Word Series champions.
One of King’s cherished memories shared in “Happiness is like a Cur Dog” goes back to 1941 when, as a 13-year-old, he saw his first major league game at Shibe Park in Philadelphia as the Phillies squared off against the Cincinnati Reds. Back then, fans were permitted to exit the game from the playing field, and as King walked past the visitor’s dugout, his brother remarked that both Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig had sat there. Fourteen years later, on April 24, 1955, King would also sit on that bench in a Pittsburgh Pirates uniform.
Although an arm injury unexpectedly ended King’s bullpen days in 1957, he maintained his positive attitude and firm belief that things happen for a reason. He ultimately found his second calling, sports broadcasting, in 1960. From 1967 – 1975, he was one half of the Pirates broadcasting duo, working alongside Bob “The Gunner” Prince on KDKA radio.
King’s pitching and broadcasting careers spanned a generation, and his commentary on the game as it is played today is interwoven with colorful stories from baseball’s golden age. As the undisputed folk historian of Pirates baseball, King brings to life some of the greatest names in Pirates history, including Branch Rickey, Danny Murtaugh, Roberto Clemente, Willie Stargell, Bill Mazeroski, Vernon Law and Dave Giusti. With a distinctive narrative style and a reverence for the players, managers, coaches, sportswriters and fans, King offers rich insights into the politics and economics of baseball during a period of profound social and cultural change, shedding light on the game’s role in the transformation of race relations and how the meaning of baseball in America was changed both on and off the field. Find out more in the pages of “Happiness is like a Cur Dog,” a must-read for any Pittsburgh sports fan or baseball enthusiast.
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