February 2, 1944 |
|September 6, 1967 for the Houston Astros|
Last MLB appearance
|October 1, 1974 for the Cincinnati Reds|
|Runs batted in||82|
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. 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.
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.
The following year with the Reds, 1974, was his last in the majors, playing his final game on October 1, 1974.
He then had several successful years playing in the Mexican League from 1975 to 1979. As a designated hitter for the Saltillo Saraperos in 1979, he slugged 19 homers and led the league with 124 walks.
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.