Baseball Hall of Fame Honoree Worked in Quincy
This Sunday, the Hall of Fame Induction ceremonies will take place in Cooperstown, New York, a small hamlet less than an hour from where I used to live. This year’s induction ceremony will have a tie to Quincy in that the late Bill King will received the Ford C. Frick Award Sunday.
As a long time member of the American Sportscaster’s Association, I receive information regarding current and past play-by-play announcers from all over the country. In a recent edition of the “Insider Sportsletter” magazine there was a story about the “The Voices” that are gone, but not forgotten. The names of Mel Allen, Curt Gowdy, Lindsey Nelson, Don Dunphy, Howard Cosell, Jack Buck, Harry Caray and Bill King are listed. Bill who?
Bill King was extremely well-known in the Bay Area of California as he broadcast the Oakland Raiders, Athletics and Warriors games for years. King was a three sport broadcaster, which is very rare these days. He was also an Illinois native and was born in Bloomington, Illinois.
He began his broadcasting career during World War Two with the Armed Forces Radio Network. He would convert play-by-play accounts of games as they came in over the wire and broadcast them in a manner that made it sound as if he were actually at the game.
After the war, he began his professional sportscasting career in Pekin, Illinois broadcasting high school football and basketball games as well as minor league baseball games. In 1952 King made his way to the microphones of WTAD in Quincy broadcasting local sporting events. He later announced basketball games for Bradley University and basketball and football games for the Nebraska before moving in 1958 to the Bay Area to broadcast the San Francisco Giants.
King, known for his famous line of “Holy Toledo,” passed away in October of 2005 at the age of 78.
A book written by Ken Korach is now available about Bill King. It is called “Holy Toledo…Lessons from Bill King: Renaissance Man of the Mic”. Korach worked as King’s partner in the broadcast booth for ten years and shares the life and times of King in his new book. For more on the book and on Bill King, go to: www.americansportscastersonline.com.