Ray King (baseball)
|Born: January 15, 1974|
|May 21, 1999, for the Chicago Cubs|
|Last MLB appearance|
|April 23, 2008, for the Washington Nationals|
|Earned run average||3.46|
High school and college yearsEdit
King attended Ripley High School (Ripley, Tennessee) and lettered in football, basketball, and baseball. In baseball, he won All-America honors as a senior. The lefty is also an alumnus of Lambuth University in Jackson, Tennessee.
In nine seasons as a professional, King has appeared in 577 games and pitched 403 innings. He is 20-23 lifetime with a 3.42 ERA, 177 walks, 276 strikeouts, 130 holds and 2 saves. As a batter he was 0-6 at the plate, with three strikeouts.
King's professional baseball career began on June 1, 1995 when the Cincinnati Reds selected him in the eighth round of the amateur draft. The southpaw spent the next four seasons playing for minor league affiliates in the Reds, Atlanta Braves and Chicago Cubs organizations before finally making his major league debut on May 21, 1999 as a member of the Cubs.
After two different stints with Chicago in 1999, King was dealt to the Milwaukee Brewers the following spring. During the 2001 and 2002 seasons the relief pitcher was a staple in the Brewers bullpen, appearing in over 75 games each of those seasons.
That off-season, King was dealt back to Atlanta for infielder Wes Helms and pitcher John Foster. King showed his durability once again appearing in 80 games as the Braves primary left-handed reliever. He also made his first career postseason appearance that season, pitching a scoreless inning of relief. He was on the move again, however during the winter of 2003 joining the St. Louis Cardinals along with fellow pitchers Jason Marquis and Adam Wainwright.
St. Louis CardinalsEdit
2004 was King's finest season in the majors to date. The rubber-armed lefty appeared in a career and team high 86 games for the Cardinals, and also notched career bests in holds (32), wins and earned run average along the way to a 5-2 record and 2.41 ERA. From May to July, King built a 30-game scoreless streak, another personal best. He also pitched 62⁄3 innings that postseason as St. Louis captured the National League pennant.
In September he was acquired by the Brewers in exchange for a player to be named later to help with their playoff run. King completed the 2007 season with a 1-1 record and a 4.76 ERA in 67 games. He became a free agent after the season.
On November 30, 2007, King re-signed with the Nationals to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training. On March 22, 2008, King's minor league contract was purchased by the Nationals, and made the opening day roster. King appeared in 12 games and went 0-0 with a 5.68 ERA during the month of April. On April 24, King was optioned to Triple-A Columbus, but he refused the assignment and declared free agency.
Chicago White SoxEdit
In early May 2008, King signed a minor league contract with the Chicago White Sox, but was released after only four appearances.
On May 29, 2008, King signed a minor league contract with the Houston Astros; he became a free agent at the end of the season.
A lefty specialist with a durable arm, King ranked amongst the top ten National League relievers in appearances from 2001 through 2005. Armed with a late-moving, low 90s fastball and sharp breaking slider, King pitches to the bottom of the strike zone and offers up few home runs. He is also adept at holding runners, and fielding his position, having committed only 7 errors in 577 career games.
- Despite almost 600 career games, King has only 2 saves and never started a game.
- King holds the second most number of single-season appearances for two organizations; the Atlanta Braves (80 appearances in 2003) and the Milwaukee Brewers (84 appearances in 2001).
- King earned Milwaukee's Manager's Award and the Amanda Curran Award for Community Service in 2004.
- King went 328 games without issuing an intentional walk, spanning over 4 years. This is the longest known streak of its kind. On August 6, 2007, King allowed a leadoff double to Ryan Klesko in the bottom of the 11th inning and intentionally walked Dave Roberts to end the streak. The Giants eventually scored, and King took the loss. While pitching for the Atlanta Braves, King threw a wild pitch on an intentional walk that scored the game's winning run from third base.