Marty Lurie Talks San Francisco Giants Baseball

Tribute to Bill King by Wendy Ledger

It’s a funny thing when someone famous dies and it moves you seemingly beyond all rights, because, after all, you didn’t really know this person. But when I heard that Bill King, the A’s broadcast announcer, died this past Tuesday, I cried.

Then things happened because of his death. I got emails from people who I hadn’t heard from for a long
time, wondering how I was doing, talking of their loss.

I sent emails to people who I felt needed to know. I wrote to people who didn’t even know him. If they were important to me, they needed to know about this man.

Please click below for more, thanks Wendy, your words are beautifully descriptive of the real Bill King…MartyBill King has occupied my consciousness since 1994, the year I first became an A’s fan. When I went to a game, I made sure I had my Walkman
with me, because I didn’t want to miss anything Bill had to say. I wanted to hear his descriptions of the cloud patterns in the sky. If he wanted to warble a little Hank Williams in the microphone, I wanted to
hear it. I wanted to hear every single one of his multisyllabic words.

I wanted to know what he was eating. Would Ray Fosse tease him today about eating a day old burrito that had been left out in his hotel room
overnight, unrefrigerated? Would he have concocted one of his sandwiches, peanutbutter and salsa and onions on a tortilla? I even looked forward to him uttering the sponsor’s tagline before the game,

About cars that go VROOM! He said it with such flamboyance, with the exuberance that word deserves, giving us all a little taste of joy
before the proceedings began. And then the game would begin and I could sit back and know that even though Bill had an abiding affection for the
A’s, that he would tell me what he saw in a fair and unique manner.

If the A’s played badly, he wouldn’t sugarcoat it. If he felt a player dogged it, Ruben Sierra back in his days in the green and gold comes immediately to mind he would speak his mind in his own original

I had the pleasure to meet Bill King on several occasions. The first time happened years ago, in line inside Yoshi’s, waiting for seating for
a Diana Krall concert. I was with friends, all baseball fans, and we happened to turn around, and there was Bill. Of course, we called out
his name as if he was a long lost family member, and of course, he responded warmly, while his wife stood behind him, patient and bemused,
while he told us news he had heard. It was fall, past postseason, and the A’s had acquired Kenny Rogers. He made jokes about the gamble and
the Gambler, and then the line started to move, and I think Diana Krall was great that night, but I was still basking in that moment when Bill
King told us things that hadn’t even been reported in the newspaper yet.

I saw him again on the field at the Coliseum on a day where season
ticketholders were given the chance to have their pictures taken with the players. Bill strolled out of the clubhouse walkway, resplendent in
jeans and a black button down shirt. I asked him a question you wouldn’t normally wouldn’t say to someone you don’t know. What did you
eat today? I said. And he didn’t bat an eye. Steak, he replied, and then he positioned himself between me and my friend, and put his arms
around us, and the photographer took our picture.

I last saw Bill at a Cuban restaurant in Arizona. He had talked about the Havana Cafe on the radio, and it had become my favorite place to eat
when I went to spring training. On this night, a group of us had gone there. As we were leaving, we spied Bill eating at a side table with
the owner. Again, we had to stop and speak with him. And he looked up at us as if he had expected us, as if this was a resumption of conversation instead of an interruption of his dinner. We exchanged hopes and dreams about the upcoming season. He laughed and listened.
He listened better than most people I’ve known. A few days later, he mentioned our meeting on the broadcast. He called us and made it
sound as if it was the best thing in the world that you could be.

When people talk about Bill King’s death, I notice that heaven gets mentioned a lot, which makes sense to me. He always seemed to be an
ambassador of paradise, someone who ostensibly spoke about sports, but who seemed to speak to our spirits, to encourage us to think, and to be
ourselves, and to be kind to others, and generous with our knowledge, to see the humor in things, and to always want to learn more. I will never
eat peanutbutter with onions and salsa, but I will remember Bill King’s graciousness and his interest in life, and that will continue to inspire me, while I miss him.

Wendy Ledger
875-A Island Drive, #117
Alameda, CA 94502-6768
(510) 865-3443
(510) 205-9263 (cell)


1 Anonymous { 10.21.05 at 11:23 am }

Wow.What a great piece of writing. So heartfelt and so true.
Great job, Wendy.

Jerry Feitelberg

2 Anonymous { 09.22.07 at 1:13 pm }

3 Anonymous { 09.22.07 at 1:50 pm }

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