Monday, September 5, 2011

Vote for Bill King (2011 Version)

It's time to vote for Bill King again for the Ford C. Frick Award, the Baseball Hall of Fame award for MLB TV/radio broadcasters.

If you're reading this blog then you already know what a broadcasting legend King was. You already know he was an A's play-by-play announcer from 1981 to 2005 -- from BillyBall to Moneyball. He was hired by the Haas family and for 15 years he and Lon Simmons (a previous Frick Award winner) were the A's announcers, forming one of the Bay Area's best all-time broadcasting duos. Ken Korach (also a great announcer) replaced Simmons in 1996 and worked alongside King until his death in October, 2005. King was 78.

What is there to say about him, really, other than this: A's fans miss Bill King. A lot. We miss him more than we can probably put into words. (As do Raiders and Warriors fans, by the way.) The best part of the Monebyall movie trailer is hearing Bill's excitable voice calling Scott Hatteberg's winning home run in Game 20 of the streak. In the clip he succinctly and perfectly describes the incredible finish as: "Just plain crazy!"

King was one of a kind. He was a true maverick, unfailingly genuine and uniquely honest in the booth. In an industry increasingly filled with homers and sanitized company men, King went against the grain and always approached his broadcasts with integrity. He also had unparalleled talent -- with a golden voice and an ability to deliver the perfect description at a rapid-fire pace. He could be eloquent and make an obscure, only-Bill-King-like reference. And he could be profane, fiery and off-color. He was simply irreplaceable.

Jane Lee of quoted a few of Bill's colleagues in her recent article:

"I've voted Bill No. 1 on every ballot I've had," said Lon Simmons, King's longtime broadcasting partner. "When you think of play-by-play, you have to think of Bill King as one of the best there ever was. He certainly has all of the qualifications."


"The depth of knowledge, the passion, the crisp description, the attention to detail, the command of language -- Bill was a master, like Mozart or a Rembrandt behind a microphone," said Ken Korach, the current voice of A's baseball.

So vote every day for Bill King at this Facebook page until Sept. 30. It really is a travesty that he has yet to win the Frick Award, even six years after his death. He received the most fan votes in 2005 and 2006 and still, inexplicably, has not yet won.

For him to be snubbed again would be, in the words of a wise man, just plain crazy.

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