Jeff King (baseball)
Jeff King as Pittsburgh Pirate
|Born: December 26, 1964|
|June 2, 1989, for the Pittsburgh Pirates|
|Last MLB appearance|
|May 21, 1999, for the Kansas City Royals|
|Runs batted in||709|
He graduated from Rampart High School in Colorado Springs in 1983. He was drafted first overall by Pittsburgh in the 1986 June Amateur Draft after playing college ball at the University of Arkansas. He played his 1987–88 seasons with the Eastern Leagues Harrisburg Senators before being promoted to Pittsburgh.
King was a key part of the Pirates Division Championship teams of 1990, 1991, and 1992, batting 6th right after Barry Bonds, Andy Van Slyke and Bobby Bonilla. He was plagued by back injuries which forced Bonilla to play third base during the 1990 NLCS.
King was then traded after a career-best 1996 season to Kansas City with Jay Bell for Joe Randa. In two full seasons with the Royals, he hit 28 and 24 home runs. King was the Royals regular first baseman at the beginning of the 1999 season, but, bothered by back problems, he abruptly announced his retirement on May 23, 1999, two days after going 1–4 against the Texas Rangers. Sports Illustrated columnist Joe Posnanski, who covered King when Posnanski worked for the Kansas City Star, reported that King disliked baseball so much that he retired the day after his pension from Major League Baseball fully vested.
King is one of three players—the other two being Willie McCovey and Andre Dawson—to hit two home runs in the same inning twice during his career. On August 8, 1995, he hit two home runs in the second inning of the Pirates' 9–5 victory over the San Francisco Giants at Candlestick Park. On April 30, 1996, he repeated this feat, this time in the fourth inning of the Pirates' 10–7 victory over the Cincinnati Reds at Cinergy Field.
King finished his career with a .256 batting average and 154 home runs in 1201 games.
- Career statistics and player information from Baseball-Reference, or Fangraphs, or The Baseball Cube
- The 100 Greatest Royals of All-Time- #69 Jeff King
B. J. Surhoff
| First overall pick in the MLB Entry Draft
Ken Griffey, Jr.
| American League Player of the Month