Baseball Toaster Bad Altitude
The Loss of a King
2005-10-19 01:51
by Mark T.R. Donohue

It won't get as much attention as the passing of, say, Jon Miller or Vin Scully will, but when I heard today that A's radio man Bill King passed away at the age of 78, I cried. When I was in college Bill King was the voice of excitement. I started at UC Berkeley in August of 1998 and the young A's were just getting into the groove. I didn't have a TV in college until I was a junior so it was King every day in the spring, summer, and autumn. The stations changed but the voice was always the same. During the 2002 20-game winning streak King never lost his cool. You believed as long as he was there doing his thing the A's could win forever. It saddens me greatly to know that King will not live to see this generation of Athletics win a World Series.

Of course, the A's gig was only the last in an amazing career of Bay Area broadcasting. At one point Bill King was calling A's, Warriors, and Raiders games all at once. Such adaptability is incredibly rare in the industry since the three sports have such different rhythms. King wasn't doing basketball or football games by the time I got to Berkeley -- maybe if he had been, I would be a Raiders or Warriors fan!

See, now I'm tearing up again. Oh man, what am I going to do when Ron Santo goes? I'll be a wreck! Wow, I wish the Rockies had guys who engendered this kind of emotion. To put it simply: they don't.

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