After years as a finalist, legendary Oakland A's radio broadcaster Bill King was finally awarded with a spot in Baseball's Hall of Fame. King, who broadcast the A's for more than a quarter century, was named the 2017 Ford Frick award winner at the baseball Winter Meetings on Wednesday. King will be inducted into the Hall of Fame on July 29, 2017.
King, who passed away in 2005, delivered some of the most memorable calls in baseball history, including Scott Hatteberg's walk-off homerun to give the A's their 20th consecutive victory in 2002 and Rickey Henderson's record-breaking 939th career stolen base. There were hundreds of other amazing calls of less legendary moments, including one of my personal favorites, King's call of Francisco Rodriguez dropping a ball from the catcher to allow the game-winning run in an AL West battle in 2004.
A's win their 20th-straight
Rickey breaks the record
K-Rod drops the baseball
King, who also shined as the broadcaster for the Raiders and the Warriors, joined the A's radio booth in 1981, just in time to narrate the "Billy Ball" A's team that featured a young Henderson and manager Billy Martin run their way to an AL West title. He had a signature style of announcing games that included his famous catch-phrase "Holy Toledo!" and an ability to turn a dull moment in a game into a fascinating story.
King teamed with fellow Hall of Fame broadcaster Lon Simmons and beloved A's color man Ray Fosse to narrate the story of the great A's teams of the late 1980s and early 1990s. In the 2000s, King was joined in the booth by Ken Korach, who wrote a brilliant memoir of King in 2014 that was instrumental in building the publicity necessary to get King into the Hall. For more on Korach's book -- which is a great read for all A's fans -- please read this interview with Korach from spring 2014.
King was famously well prepared for every broadcast and brought passion and knowledge into every game he announced. He also had a dry sense of humor that often found its target in the "men in blue" calling balls, strikes and outs. For many listening to A's games as kids in the 1980s -- like this one -- King taught them the game and about art and culture at the same time. His intelligence and his unique style were a perfect fit for an Oakland A's organization that has always so famously colored outside of the lines.
King is the 41st winner of the Frick award. He joins Simmons as the only A's broadcasters to be honored with the award. Simmons was honored in 2004.