Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Clyde King, 1924-2010. R.I.P.

Clyde King, best known for his brief stint as manager of the New York Yankees, died yesterday due to heart failure. He was 86.

King spent seven seasons in the big leagues during the 1940s and 1950s as a relief pitcher mostly with the Brooklyn Dodgers.

After stints as a pitching coach with the Cincinnati Reds and the Pittsburgh Pirates, King was hired to manage the San Francisco Giants in 1969. He took them to a 90-72 record finishing only three games back of the Atlanta Braves in the NL West. Yet King was dumped by the Giants early the following season and was replaced by Charlie Fox who would guide them to the NL West pennant in 1971. King would later manage the Braves during parts of the 1974 and 1975 seasons.

In 1976, King joined the front office of the New York Yankees and became a trusted confidante of George Steinbrenner. King got one last chance to manage late in the 1982 season. He was the third of three managers that season which started out with Bob Lemon and Gene Michael. King was no more successful than Lemon or Michael. King would return to the front office the following season while Steinbrenner would hire Billy Martin for the third of his five stints as Yankees skipper. King spent 1985 and 1986 as Yankees general manager and would remain in the Yankees organization until 2005.

Here's a photo taken in 1960 of King watching Fidel Castro throw out a ceremonial first pitch when he managed the Rochester Red Wings (when they were affiliated with the St. Louis Cardinals.) The Red Wings must have invited to play some exhibition games in Cuba. King does not look overly impressed with Castro's delivery.

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