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Bill King Gets His Long Awaited Call To Cooperstown

Jason Barrett

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Holy Toledo! Bill King has been called to Cooperstown.

One of the most prominent sports announcers in Bay Area sports history has been named the winner of the 2017 Ford C. Frick Award after finishing as a finalist for the honor seven times. King passed away in 2005, after spending more than four decades calling the action for many of the Bay Area’s sports teams.

During his career, King served as the voice of the Oakland Athletics for 25 years, the longest tenure of any A’s announcer since the team’s games were first broadcast in Philadelphia in 1938. He was the club’s radio announcer from 1981 to 2005, and called the team’s World Series victory over their crosstown rivals, the San Francisco Giants in 1989, Rickey Henderson’s record-breaking stolen base in 1991, and Scott Hatteberg’s pinch-hit walk-off homerun in 2002, which helped the A’s extend their league-record winning streak to 20 games.

Ironically, it was the Giants who gave King his Bay Area play by play start. He was part of their original broadcasting team, working alongside Russ Hodges and Lon Simmons.

After working for the Giants, King joined the Golden State Warriors as their play by play announcer when the franchise moved to San Francisco in 1962. He announced Warrior games until 1983, including the team’s first NBA Championship on the West Coast in 1974-1975.

If holding two high profile jobs for over two decades wasn’t enough, King also had a historic run as the voice of the Oakland Raiders. He became the team’s play by play voice in 1966, working for the franchise through the 1992 season. He even commuted to Los Angeles from 1982-1984 when the Raiders relocated to Southern California. During his time working for Al Davis, he called all three Raiders Super Bowl victories.

King’s stepdaughter, Kathleen Lowenthal told the San Francisco Chronicle that she got the call Wednesday morning from Hall of Fame President Jeff Idelson.

“When he called, I was like a little kid, and crying,” she said. “I had no idea I’d cry. Then Ken Korach called me, and he was crying. I just wish Bill were here. He never thought this would happen. He didn’t seek it. That was never a motivation. It’s his time, and I’m thrilled.”

King was behind the microphone to call the famous Oakland Raiders “Holy Roller” touchdown against San Diego in 1978. It’s one of the most memorable play by play calls in sports history.

One person who’s been a strong advocate for King’s entry into Cooperstown has been current A’s radio play by play announcer Ken Korach. His 2013 book Holy Toledo – Lessons from Bill King: Renaissance Man of the Mic drew additional attention to King’s stellar work, and earned high praise from other members of the sports media.

When Korach learned that King had finally earned the call to the Hall he said “It’s just incredible. A lot of tears, to be honest with you. It’s so heartwarming. I’ve heard from broadcasters, writers. It’s really emotional. This is going to be such a wonderful celebration for A’s fans and that’s the definition of a Hall of Famer — someone who had that kind of impact on so many people. Bill King was a one-in-a-million person.”

Current Raiders play by play announcer Greg Papa, who has served as the voice of the Silver and Black for the past 21 seasons, has said of King, “He is without a doubt the best radio play-by-play announcer in all of sports. His energy, preparation, his thoroughness, his word choice—he is without peer.”

The Baseball Hall of Fame issued a press release on King’s pending honor, adding, “Bill King’s enthusiasm for every game he called carried through the airwaves and into the hearts of fans throughout Northern California for 25 incredible years with the Oakland Athletics. From his distinctive word choices in describing the action to his unabashed love of Oakland and the Bay Area, King crafted a career that became synonymous with the action at the Oakland Coliseum and throughout the sports world.”

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Rob Dibble, 97.9 ESPN Help Collect Nearly 5,000 Turkeys

“This year, the support from listeners, sponsors, partners and volunteers helped make a remarkable state-wide impact.”

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97.9 ESPN Hartford host Rob Dibble helped collect more than 5,000 frozen turkeys and over 8m000 pounds of non-perishable foood items last week.

The station, along with other iHeart Connecticut stations, also raised more than $189,000 during the 23rd annual Turkey Tuesday at Connecticut Foodshare’s headquarters.

“We are continually grateful of the outpouring of donations from our listeners and Connecticut community on our annual events to ensure a Thanksgiving for all,” said iHeartMedia Hartford and New Haven Vice President of Marketing Vanessa Wojtusiak. “This year, the support from listeners, sponsors, partners and volunteers helped make a remarkable state-wide impact.”

Dibble has been a longtime support of Connecticut Foodshare, hosting its director Al Marino on his show several times throughout the year to ensure families in Connecticut have access to the food bank.

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Ray Didinger Subject of NFL Films Feature, Tells Angelo Cataldi He’s Stayed Busy in Retirement

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Former 94WIP host and Philadelphia Daily News and NBC Sports Philadelphia writer Ray Didinger retired earlier this year, but he told Angelo Cataldi he’s remained busy even though he stepped away from his media career.

“It’s been busier than I thought,” Didinger said. “Just because of the way things have gone in the city. The Phillies going to the World Series, the Eagles are 10-1, I don’t think any of us thought it was going to be this kind of run. Consequently, my phone hasn’t stopped ringing. I had no idea everyone in the world has a podcast so I’ve been getting all those calls. My name and my phone number are on way too many rolodexes all around the country. When somebody says ‘Hey, let’s do a piece about Philly’, my phone rings. It’s been busy but it’s been good. It’s been great to see what this has meant to the city.”

Didinger hosted shows from 10:00 AM-1:00 PM on Saturdays and Sundays for 94WIP. In total, he spent more than 50 years covering the NFL before retiring in May.

After Cataldi asked for Didinger’s opinion on the 2022 Eagles, he asked the now-retired reporter if he was still using his yellow notepad. Didinger admitted he does still use the notepad, and Cataldi chastised his former colleague after he said he would retire the notepad. Cataldi joked when he retires after the Eagles season concludes, he hopes to lose co-hosts Al Morganti and Rhea Hughes’ phone numbers.

Didinger will be the subject of an NFL Films feature about his longtime career covering the league. The program will air on FS1 on Friday at 12:30 AM.

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Colin Dunlap: ‘Insane’ What Tom Rinaldi Has Done During Last Week

“He’s going from Doha to Dallas and Kansas City to Doha and Columbus to Doha. Something’s up! There’s two Tom Rinaldi’s.”

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Tom Rinaldi

It was a banner week for FOX Sports during the Thanksgiving holiday, and no one got more work than the network’s Tom Rinaldi. 93.7 The Fan morning show host Colin Dunlap believes Rinaldi deserves props for his schedule.

“It’s insane what he’s done,” Dunlap said. “I wrote it down and I saw somebody tweet it. Listen to this schedule — and I don’t even know if it’s worth it — but listen to what Tom Rinaldi has done: Wednesday? Qatar. Thursday? Dallas for the Cowboys game. Friday? Back to the US-England match in Qatar. Saturday? In Columbus, Ohio for Michigan/Ohio State. Sunday? Kansas City for the NFL game.

“And then if you’ve gotta guess, he’s gonna be at the American game tomorrow so he’s travelling back to Qatar today. I don’t even travel back and forth to Baltimore like that. He’s going from Doha to Dallas and Kansas City to Doha and Columbus to Doha. Something’s up! There’s two Tom Rinaldi’s.”

Dunlap, co-host Chris Mack, and producer Adam Crowley then discussed whether FOX Sports was using Rinaldi enough. While noting that he’s travelling to all these locations, they believe he isn’t being utilized enough for the bigger stories he’s been known for.

They also joked about whether Rinaldi was flying back and forth on Rupert Murdoch’s private jet and whether or not that would make life easier.

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