"Holy Toledo!"

December 8, 2016

Legendary Announcer Bill King Voted Into Hall Of Fame

Filed under: A.F.L., NFL, Oakland A's, Oakland Raiders, Uncategorized — Bill @ 10:17 am

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One of my heroes was honored yesterday.

Raiders-A’s-Warriors legendary announcer Bill King was voted into the Hall of Fame yesterday.

I have such mixed emotions about this.

Thrilled that Bill finally made it.

Sad that he wasn’t able to witness how much he was loved & appreciated.

And all of this on the eve of a Raiders-Chiefs game.

Holy Toledo indeed.

Remind me to tell you the unforgettable story about the day I met Bill King.

Meanwhile here  are two good articles that I will share with you.

“Arrhythmic poetry to Bill King making Hall of Fame posthumously”

By Ray Ratto

December 7, 2016

Bill King would have found his entrance into the Baseball Hall of Fame for winning the Ford C. Frick Award for excellence in baseball broadcasting a satisfying but indisputably odd thing for him to receive 11 years after his death. He would have said, and I can guarantee this, “Well, my work must have dramatically improved in the last few years.”

And Hank Greenwald, Lon Simmons, Greg Papa and all his other broadcast partners would have laughed and nodded. King knew he was good and didn’t mind being recognized for it, but he wouldn’t miss the weird touch of being hailed for it after his passing.

Nor would he have missed the amusing notion that he won the award in his ninth time as a finalist. The A’s teams whose exploits he described for a quarter-century reached the postseason nine times but won the big only once, in 1989.

But there is an arrhythmic poetry in the notion that King’s final recognition went this way rather than while he was alive. The nation caught on to him late, if at all, and while he was the voice of all things Bay Area sports for 43 years between the Warriors, Raiders and A’s, he was happily non-telegenic, and thoroughly content with living outside the troika of national broadcasting circles (New York, Los Angeles, Chicago) of the time.

He did want to be thought of as he is today by a larger audience, because he was a man with a healthy respect for his own talent and work ethic, but he knew the deal when he took it, and he took it happily. He was allowed to be himself by three separate owners (which is three over the current national average, given that broadcasters are now given a daily party line that must be adhered to), and he took full advantage. Talent gets you that kind of freedom, and obstinacy in the face of control allows you to use it fearlessly.

And now it’s been noticed, ironically enough in the sport most people thought was his third best. The NBA’s Curt Gowdy Award, given since 1990, includes many of his contemporaries (Chick Hearn, Johnny Most, Al McCoy, Joe Tait, Bill Schonely, et. al.) but not him, and the NFL’s Pete Rozelle Radio-Television Award, given since 1989, is almost exclusively reserved for network TV announcers, though some of King’s radio compatriots (Buffalo’s Van Miller and Pittsburgh’s Myron Cope) have also won.

But baseball embraced the Internet vote first, and King got consistent support from Bay Area fans who kept his name alive through a number of failed attempts when the voting was done by the public; he won under a new system in which winners are selected by a 17-person panel, which many people thought was not his best constituency.

If King were alive and still active, he would have been properly appreciative, though one should not have been surprised had he pulled a Bob Dylan with the Nobel Prize people and skipped the induction ceremony next July: “Thanks for the award, but I’ll have been in New York the week before and I’m taking that weekend off to sit on the boat. Give (Hall of Fame director) Jeff Idelson a ‘Holy Toledo!’ for me, and pass that bottle over here.”

It’s how we would want him to want it, anyway.

BILL KING: 1927-2005 / Erudite voice of Bay Area sports

David Bush, Chronicle Staff Writer

Published 4:00 am, Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Bill King, who described in his distinctive rapid-fire style some of the greatest moments in Bay Area sports history and connected with generations of local sports fans, has died.

King, 78, died in San Leandro Hospital early Tuesday morning of a pulmonary embolism. He underwent surgery on Friday to repair his artificial hip but developed a blood clot.

He was the radio voice of the pro basketball Warriors from their 1962 arrival in the Bay Area through 1983, the pro football Raiders from 1966 through 1992 and the baseball A’s from 1981 through this past season. Radio station KNBR, which was King’s professional home for a large part of his career, devoted its entire programming Tuesday afternoon to replaying memorable play-by-play calls and interviewing colleagues.

King was almost as renowned for his handlebar mustache and wide-ranging interests as he was for the trademark “Holy Toledo” exclamation he used to punctuate exciting plays.

“We’ve lost a unique person, no doubt about that,” said former broadcaster Lon Simmons, who shared the A’s booth with King from 1981 through ’95.

King was the audio link to the Warriors during their championship season of 1974-75. His calls of great Raiders moments from their heyday of the 1970s are still often replayed. And he was behind the microphone during the A’s run of three straight World Series appearances, 1988-90.

“He was the essence of what a sportscaster should be,” said Hank Greenwald, who was King’s broadcast partner on the Warriors before Greenwald became the voice of the Giants in 1979. “He had the ability to capture what was happening and enable listeners to see it as vividly as if they were in the arena themselves.”

“His name should be on the wall of the (Oakland) Coliseum with (Rollie) Fingers and (Catfish) Hunter and (Dennis) Eckersley and the rest,” said Ken Korach, King’s A’s broadcast partner the past 10 years. “He’s meant more to the organization than anyone. He touched so many lives — he was like a member of the family for millions of people.

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