Before he was twenty-one, King had helped pitch St. Louis to two AA pennants (1887
and 1888) and recorded the first two of four consecutive seasons in which he would
win more than 30 games. His finest--and(-h)h)h)busiest--year was 1888, when he led
the AA with personal bests in complete games (64), innings pitched (586), wins (45),
shutouts (6), and ERA (1.64). His 258 strikeouts in 1888, also a personal high, were
second best in the AA.
This fastball pitcher played as Silver King: "King" from
the translation of the German, "Koenig;" "Silver" for a thatch of hair that resembled
burnished silver. Wide-shouldered, with long, powerful arms and tremendous hands,
King is credited with being the first to use a sidearm delivery. He mixed fastballs,
curves, and changes, using just one motion, disdaining a windup.