2017 Ford C. Frick Award Winner Bill King
“There was an authenticity to Bill that I think really was something that was a quality that endeared him to people in the Bay Area. He was a very unique guy. He was his own man. He danced to his own drummer and that’s one of the reasons he was so great on the air because a lot of what Bill said came from this great passion that he had for being on the air and broadcasting. What you got from Bill was the real thing.”
Fosse, a big league catcher for 12 seasons, two of which were spent winning World Series championships with Oakland in 1973 and ’74, was also moved when he heard King had captured the Frick Award. Fosse has been in the A’s broadcast booth for the past three decades.
“I was excited and I was ecstatic when I heard the news because so many years have passed since he died and his name has been on the ballot a few times over that time,” said Fosse. “Here’s a guy doing football, basketball and baseball all at the same time, which is incredible. And he was just an incredible individual when it came to preparation. I learned so much from him in what I do today.
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“That he passed away in 2005 and he finally gets in, I want to thank the committee members that voted for him because there were other good names on the ballot. Just the fact that they thought enough of Bill, even though he’s not here to enjoy it, to have him being honored with the Frick Award is very special.”
Fosse’s broadcasting career started in 1986, and for his first five years worked with both King and fellow Frick Award winner Lon Simmons.
“In radio broadcasting they say you have to paint a picture and Bill could paint a picture that was unbelievable,” Fosse remembered. “I was so intimidated early in working with him that I wouldn’t say a word for the first inning. He would be setting the stage and I would just sit there and listen.
“I’ve been fortunate to work for the A’s for 31 years and what I am right now is the result of being in that booth with Bill. I played baseball but as a broadcaster I was nothing and to be able to learn from Bill the art of broadcasting, having had no training, I was fortunate. To have been in the broadcast booth with one of the greatest, I feel so honored.”
Meanwhile, the 2017 season will be Korach’s 22nd season broadcasting A’s baseball, 10 of which, from 1996 to 2005, were spent working alongside King.
“I had grown up listening to him so he was an idol of mine from the time that I first heard him when I was a kid,” Korach said. “He had such a profound influence on me and my love of broadcasting. He was really gracious with me.
“His career is instructive from the standpoint that he was a man who took his craft very seriously. There was a sense of responsibility that he had, and credibility, and making sure that he got things right, and doing his homework. He was unbelievably diligent.”
When asked what they thought King’s reaction to the Frick Award news would have been, both Korach and Fosse gave similar answers.
There was an authenticity to Bill that I think really was something that was a quality that endeared him to people in the Bay Area. He was a very unique guy. He was his own man. What you got from Bill was the real thing.
“I think he would have been deeply humbled, very thrilled, honored and extremely proud,” Korach said. “It would have meant the world to him. And Bill didn’t live for the adulation, he didn’t live for recognition. He did it because it was what he loved to do. But the Hall of Fame is the pinnacle.”
According to Fosse, King didn’t want any attention for his success.
Bill Francis is a Library Associate at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum