"Holy Toledo!"

April 7, 2014

Rare Bill King Radio Broadcasts Found!

Filed under: A.F.L., Baseball, Baskettball, NFL, Oakland A's, Oakland Raiders — Bill @ 11:51 am

Normally I don’t collect radio broadcasts on cd, however I will make an exception for games announced by Bill King (or old Raiders or A’s games). I know many of you were fans of the great Bill King, and I thought you would like to know that I recently found some good quality broadcasts of his. For those of you who are asking “Who is Bill King?”, I give you this…

Wilbur “Bill” King, the man who coined the phrase “Holy Toledo!” in which this blog is named passed away on October 18, 2005. For many of us in the Bay Area Bill King was the man we grew up with, he was the voice of sports on the radio.

While stationed in Guam during World War II King started “recreating” sports broadcasts for the Armed Forces Radio Network. “Recreating” games was a common practice during that era. Sports announcers would receive very basic game details via the teletype, then make up a game broadcasts as if they were actually at the game. Some announcers went as far as to bang two pieces of wood together to simulate the sound of the crack of the bat.

After the war he began calling high school games, some minor league baseball, then later worked for Bradley University announcing basketball. At the University of Nebraska he called both basketball and football. King’s first job working for a professional team came when the Giants (& Bill) moved west to San Francisco in 1958. While it did provide the Bay Area with a glimpse of what Bill could do, his air time was limited. His big break was four years away.

There used to be a basketball team in Philadelphia called the Warriors, who had a player named Wilt. Like several sports teams during that time, these Warriors moved west. The year was 1962. Those Warriors were in need of a new play-by-play announcer, and as fate would have it, Bill King needed a job. This was the foot in the door King needed to demonstrate his skills. Forty three years later Bill King would be a Bay Area legend, a radio icon, and the man best known for his ability to paint verbal pictures of incredible sporting events. His Golden State Warrior career lasted for 21 seasons, but it was during that span that he created his role of being one of the most outspoken, laser tongued, fan friendly voices that made him so unique.

The Oakland Raiders hired him as their full-time broadcaster in 1966, where he stayed until 1994, including many seasons commuting back and forth to Los Angeles. The Bill King era with the Raiders spanned from the AFL to the NFL, from starting QB’s Tom Flores to Jeff Hostetler, from such coached as George Halas to Bill Beilchick. It was during his time with the Raiders that he made many of his signature calls, many of which were used by NFL Films. From Bland, to Biletnikoff, to Bo, Bill gave us chills.

When the Haas family purchased the A’s in late 1980, they convinced Bill to become the new voice of the A’s. His first year was highlighted, coincidentally, by the hiring of Billy Martin. What followed was the era of “Billyball”. His style of calling a baseball game was much different than the voice we had become accustomed to, seeming more slow paced. Some criticized him, because he seemed so different. What really happened is that he altered his style to better suite the slower paced game, and combined with the legendary Lon Simmons, they called a good baseball game. In October of 1989, because of his Raiders radio commitment, Bill was not able to announce the the final out of the World Series against the San Francisco Giants. He was there, however, for 8 American League West titles, & 3 American League pennants.

When it was all said and done, Bill King had been the primary voice of three Bay Area teams for a grand total od 76 seasons. Twenty two for the Golden St. Warriors, twenty nine foor the Raiders, & twenty five seasons for the Oakland A’s. Historians have labeled several average announcers as “great” simply because of their longevity, but Bill was far from average.

His descriptions of some of the great sporting moments have become as important a part of the moment as the play itself. There is no better example of this than the famous Holy Roller play. When I mention this play most of us immediately think of two things, Dave Casper stumbling and falling on the football, and of course these words…

The ball, flipped forward, is loose! A wild scramble, two seconds on the clock…Casper grabbing the ball…it is ruled a fumble…Casper has recovered in the end zone!! The Oakland Raiders have scored on the most zany, unbelievable, absolutely impossible dream of a play! Madden is on the field. He wants to know if it’s real. They said yes, get your big butt out of here! He does! There’s nothing real in the world anymore! The Raiders have won the football game! The Chargers….they don’t believe it. Fifty-two thousand people are stunned. This one will be relived forever!

Whether it was his verbal undressing of various NBA referees, or his call of a Jason Giambi game-winning home run in the bottom of the 9th off Mariano Rivera, or the unforgettable way he simply said these nine words “And here comes George Blanda out on the field!”, when you heard a game called bu Bill King you knew you had just heard something special.

The reason I bring up these great memories is because I have found some new recordings of Bill King games. If you have any old games featuring Bill I would gladly trade for them.

Bill King Games on CD or DVD:

1971 NFL week 10
San Diego at Oakland
Bill King & Scotty Sterling
Lamonica vs. John Hadl
Rebroadcast the of original, 2 CD’s

1974 AFC Divisional Playoff
“Sea of Hands Game”
Bill King & Scotty Sterling
Actual radio broadcast, 3 CD’s

1977 NBA
October 25, 1977
Golden St. Warriors at Chicago Bulls
Full game broadcast
3 CD’s

1977 NBA
November 25, 1977
Golden St. Warriors at Philadelphia 76ers
Dr. J, George McGinnis & co. takes on Rick Barry, Robert Parrish & the Warriors
OT game, original broadcast, 3 CD’s

1977 NBA
December 8, 1977
Milwaukee Bucks at Golden St. Warriors
Nail biter to the very end
Original game broadcast, 3 CD’s

1988 NFL Week 14
Denver at LA Raiders
Bill King radio audio matched with TV broadcast
Bo Jackson & Marcus Allen vs. John Elway
Great game, 2 DVD’s

1988 – 1989 – 1990 Oakland Athletics
Segments of original radio broadcasts featuring Bill King, Lon Simmons, & Ray Fosse
-1988 ALCS vs. Boston game 2
-1988 ALCS vs. Boston game 4
including final 3 outs as the A’s win the pennant!
-1988 World Series vs. Los Angeles Dodgers game 1
does not include Gibson HR
-1989 A’s clinch the A.L. West
-1989 World Series vs. San Francisco Giants
portions of Game 1, 2, & 4, including postgame
-1990 A’s clinch the A.L. West
*All audio files on 1 DVD

Bill King Compilation
Over 30 minutes of some of the greatest calls in the career of Bill King
Mostly Raiders, but does include rare Warriors audio, and
A brief Bill King interview by Rick Barry
1 CD


NOTE– I wish I had more so if you wish to trade, or need old cassettes converted to CD please contact me so we can all relive the great Bill King!




  1. Nice article about Bill King, but it ended a little anticlimactically, so here’s the real deal…the Holy Roller play and call as I saw it from a TV in the Watford City Hotel in North Dakota…http://youtu.be/5Y1SeAjv5ao

    Comment by fansince57 — April 7, 2014 @ 2:23 pm

    • …the really incriminating feature of this play was not the way Casper kicked and stumbled the ball toward the end zone – it was the illegal forwarding of the ball when Banaszak scooped it forward toward Casper as Pete was being tackled while he tried to “recover” the forward fumble by Stabler, which also didn’t look at all legal…wow!…what a bogus TD…and Raider fans, who gloat about this play are the same ones that say the refs had it in for their poor Raiders for years upon years…no, it was just the universal laws of nature trying to balance the scales after this stinker call…

      Comment by fansince57 — April 7, 2014 @ 2:39 pm

  2. bill king is missed to all old fans he was the raiders

    Comment by umcle buck — April 8, 2014 @ 6:17 pm

  3. No! The Haas family did not hire Billy Martin when they purchased the Athletics. Charlie Finley did the previous year!

    Comment by Dave Givens — April 6, 2015 @ 4:17 pm

    • I stand corrected Dave, thanks for your input. I was in college at that time so all I had on my mind back then was accounting & girls, not necessarily in that order. Still no excuse, I should have known better.

      Comment by Bill — April 29, 2015 @ 10:52 am

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