If a cat could play baseball, it might be Clyde King. He may not have lived nine lives in the sport, but King came close. Pitcher, coach, manager, general manager, special assistant to Yankees owner George Steinbrenner.
I asked him about his six-hitter against Cincinnati in 1947. King starred on the mound and at bat, helping his own cause with a double and three RBI. His thoughts were of survival, however.
“I was worried about the ninth inning. I really wanted to finish that game!”
He debuted with Brooklyn in 1944 at age 20. Some historians sniff at the supposed diminished level of play, considering that so many baseball stars were serving in World War II. Eager newcomers like King may have plunked a fastball in the ribs of such critics.
“Happy to be playing, not worried about it being replacement players!”
Most telling in King’s note (on New York Yankees letterhead!) was a response to his successes as a coach or manager. Did he feel that he aided a career comeback, or gave a promising player the formula to shine? Instead, King noted his rookie experiences:
“In 1944, we had no pitching coach, so learned by asking many questions.”
Thanks to http://www.retrosheet.org/ for the account of King’s silencing of Cincinnati. King’s life and career were subject of a 1999 book, which seems to be out of print. (Reviews, anyone?)