Hal King

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For the American novelist (1945–2010), sometimes known as Hal King, see Harold King (author).
Hal King
Catcher
Born: (1944-02-02) February 2, 1944 (age 70)
Oviedo, Florida
Batted: Left Threw: Right
MLB debut
September 6, 1967 for the Houston Astros
Last MLB appearance
October 1, 1974 for the Cincinnati Reds
Career statistics
Batting average .214
Home runs 24
Runs batted in 82
Teams

Harold "Hal" King (born February 1, 1944 in Oviedo, Florida), is a retired Major League Baseball player who played catcher from 1967-1974. He played for the Houston Astros, Texas Rangers, Atlanta Braves, and Cincinnati Reds.

He attended Oviedo High School in Oviedo, Florida and was signed as an amateur free agent in 1965 by the California Angels. He made his major league debut, with the Houston Astros, at age 23 on September 6, 1967 with an eight-inning pinch-hit groundout against Baseball Hall of Famer Gaylord Perry.[1] His first hit came four days later on September 10, 1967 with a single off the Dodgers' Bill Singer. Later in the game he notched both his first triple and first run batted in, also against Singer, driving in Rusty Staub.[2]

His best year was with the 1970 Atlanta Braves. Appearing in 89 games, King had a .260 batting average with 11 home runs and 30 runs batted in.

On July 1, 1973, playing for the Cincinnati Reds, King hit one of the most famous home runs in Reds' history. Entering the first game of a doubleheader at Riverfront Stadium, the Reds trailed their National League West rivals the Los Angeles Dodgers by a whopping 11 games. King, who just two weeks earlier had been called up from the minors, came to the plate as a pinch-hitter for fellow catcher Bill Plummer with the Dodgers and pitcher Don Sutton one out away from a win. With Tony Perez and Darrel Chaney (pinch-running for Johnny Bench) on base, King slugged a three-run homer for a 4-3 Reds' win. The Reds followed that up with a 3-2 win in the second game on a 10th-inning single by Perez that scored Joe Morgan, and the next night the Reds won yet another thriller over the Dodgers, 4-2, on a Perez walk-off homer.

Starting with the win on King's homer, the Reds went on to a 60–26 record the rest of the way to win the division championship.[3][4][5][6][7]

The following year with the Reds, 1974, was his last in the majors, playing his final game on October 1, 1974.[8]

He then had several successful years playing in the Mexican League from 1975 to 1979.[9] As a designated hitter for the Saltillo Saraperos in 1979, he slugged 19 homers and led the league with 124 walks.[10]

As of 1986-87 he was the president of the athletic boosters club of Oviedo High School and had a son in the school system.[11]

He still lives in Oviedo, where he has a power washing and home maintenance business.[12][13]

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