William "Bill" King (October 6, 1927 – October 18, 2005) was an amazing announcer who did play-by-play for the Oakland Athletics, the Warriors, and the Raiders (not many announcers can do multiple sports). He was an announcer for the Warriors from 1962-1983, the Raiders from 1966-1992 (still doing Warriors games!), and the A's from 1981-2005, the time of his death. He retired from the Warriors and it appears that Al Davis either fired him 1 or didn't do anything to make sure he kept his job when he was offered a ridiculously low salary. 4
Bill King was the lead announcer for the A's and he was really, really good. He had a dry sense of humor and said things like "Holy Toledo!" He never told anyone his age, and toward the end of his career, got a bit curmudgeonly. He would not, for example, travel to Texas where the Rangers played. On these days, the back up and color commentators did the games and they suffered immensely. If I remember correctly, King died during surgery that he had to repair something he had injured while tripping over a suitcase. (ESPN confirms that the part about tripping on the luggage is true.) 2
Every year Bill King is nominated for the Ford C. Frick award, which goes to baseball announcers and lands them in the Hall of Fame, but he never gets enough votes, which is beyond me.
The broadcast booth at the Coliseum has been renamed the "Bill King Broadcast Booth" in his honor.
Listen to some calls here and here.
Current A's broadcaster Ken Korach has recently published a book about King called Holy Todelo. (Ray Ratto said the book needed to be written, but by King himself. 3)
Links and References
- Bill King on Wikipedia.
- Longtime A's radio voice Bill King dies at 78 ESPN: Oct 18, 2005.
- REMEMBERING BILL KING: 1927-2005 / The man behind the mike San Francisco Chronicle: Oct 19, 2005.
- Commitment to Excellence Doesn't Reach Radio Booth LA Times: April 23, 1993.