Nellie King has written a book, “Happiness Is Like a Cur Dog,” and it would be perfect for any baseball fan on your Santa list.
The book sells for $10.70 in soft cover and $15.40 in hardback at (www.authorhouse.com/bookstore), which makes it one of the season’s great bargains.
The subtitle is, “The Thirty Year Journey of a Major League Pitcher and Broadcaster,” but that’s only part of the story.
It’s really the 81-year journey of Nellie King from Shenandoah, Pa., to Pittsburgh sports icon.
His storytelling skills are superb, the writing style is smooth and witty. The people he’s met vividly come to life: Branch Rickey, Roberto Clemente, Bob Prince, and even the managers at KDKA who swept King out of the Pirates radio booth in 1975 because of their personal vendetta against Bob Prince.
King’s baseball career started in a time when players took two-day train trips to their minor-league outpost and wore triple-digit numbers in spring training because there were so many hopefuls.
After his major-league career was derailed by an arm injury, King endured a couple of unsatisfying non-sports jobs, then fell into broadcasting in Greensburg.
He got a spot on the Pirates broadcast team in 1967, and was Prince’s sole partner from 1971-75. His easy style and player’s perspective were the perfect counterpoint to Prince’s fan-based bombast.
When that ended without warning, King found a new purpose in the Duquesne University athletic department.
A lot of people try to tell stories and wind up saying, “Aw, you had to be there.” That never happens with King. The reader feels like he is there.
Recent years have presented King with a number of major health challenges, including cancer, heart surgery, Parkinson’s disease and a near fatal case of pneumonia in 2007. But back every time, kept an amazingly positive perspective, and wrote a great book.
Nellie King, 0-for-23 as a major-league hitter, has hit a home run as an author.
Get a copy. Give some copies.