Silver King (baseball)
January 11, 1868|
St. Louis, Missouri
|Died: May 21, 1938
St. Louis, Missouri
|Batted: Right||Threw: Right|
|September 28, 1886 for the Kansas City Cowboys|
|Last MLB appearance|
|August 19, 1897 for the Washington Senators|
|Earned run average||3.18|
|Career highlights and awards|
In a 10-year career, spent primarily as a pitcher, King played for Jacksonville Illinois (1885) and St. Joseph Missouri in the Western League (1886), the Kansas City Cowboys (1886), St. Louis Browns (1887), Chicago Pirates (1890), Pittsburgh Pirates (1891), New York Giants (1892–93), Cincinnati Reds (1893), and Washington Senators (1896–97). The first part of King's nickname was a reference to the color of his hair, while the latter part was a translation of his German surname.
King was an unusual pitcher for his time. Gripping the ball with unusually large hands, he delivered the ball without a windup. He also was one of the first pitchers in major league history to employ a sidearm delivery. The unconventional methods worked, as he went on to pitch 3,1902⁄3 innings, winning 203 games with 1229 strikeouts and a 3.18 earned run average in 397 games. His strong fastball enabled him to become a notable strikeout artist; he finished among the league's top 10 in that category six times.
King's best season came in 1888, when he led the Browns to their second consecutive American Association championship. That year, King led the league with 5852⁄3 innings pitched in 66 games, 45 wins, and a 1.64 ERA. In 1890, he jumped to Chicago of the Players League and added another ERA title while winning 30 games. On June 21, 1890, King threw a no-hitter for Chicago, the only one in the league's one-year history. (King lost 1–0, and pitched only eight innings in the loss, so this game is not officially recognized by MLB as a no-hitter.)
After baseball, King returned to his native St. Louis. He died in 1938, at age 70, and was laid to rest at New St. Marcus Cemetery in St. Louis.