Recommended Reading: Nellie King

People will little note nor long remember what Steven Jackson did pitching in relief last season for the Pittsburgh Pirates. For that matter, not until now, were they likely to remember what Nellie King did pitching in relief for the Bucs in 1956.
Without both of these men, and all others like them, baseball would cease to exist.
2009 was an encouraging year for Jackson. Up from Indianapolis, he pitched 40 times for a total of 43 innings, 21 strikeouts, 22 walks, two wins, three losses, and a 3.14 ERA. This was the culmination of nearly six years along a heavily-guided, clearly-lit, little-left-to-chance route that began when Howard McCullough of the Diamondbacks started scouting him at Clemson in 2003. The next year, Arizona drafted him in the tenth round, and, despite the fact he was already 22, they started him in the instruction-focused Pioneer and Northwest Leagues. The Yankees were following him, too, and when they worked out a deal to return Randy Johnson to Arizona, Jackson was one of the pitchers they demanded. New York began to work Jackson in relief in ’07 and their instructors helped him find a new arm slot that turned a mediocre sinker into an out pitch. He was the third arm the Yankees called up from the minors last April, but they wasted his last option by letting him sit in the bullpen for a week without an appearance. When they tried to sneak him off the major league roster, the Pirates pounced and picked him up on waivers. Within weeks, he was a regular in the Pittsburgh bullpen.
This tortuous recital of the provenance of Steven Jackson – scouted, trained, guided, instructed, groomed (and paid around $275,000 in his first big league season) is provided to underscore a point about ex-Pirate reliever Nellie King’s wonderful new book Happiness Is Like A Cur Dog. In King’s first full season in the bigs, in 1956, he appeared 38 times in Pittsburgh, pitched 60 innings, won four and lost one, and finished with a 3.15 ERA (and earned about $6,000 – still just $47,000 in 2009 dollars). This was the culmination of eleven years of fighting to get anybody to notice him long enough to invite him to a mass tryout camp, then possibly to spring training, then possibly onto the roster of a minor league team like the New Iberia Cardinals of the Class-D Evangeline League.
Class D.
As he vividly recounts in this warm, understated memoir, Nellie King’s career began in a time when a ballplayer had at least three jobs: what he did during the actual season, what he did delivering packages or bailing hay during the off-season, and what he had to do 24 hours a day to make sure he didn’t get released with no more than ten days’ notice and not even a bus ticket home. It is almost unfathomable to consider the pioneer-like hacking through the woods of hidden opportunity that King so fondly recalls. A part-time Cardinals’ scout liked what he saw of him in a glorified summer high school league and invited him to a tryout. He got a uniform with a three digit number on it. Hooking on with a team in Louisiana he arrived there by bus in the middle of the night, clueless of who to contact or where to go. He was released twice before his 19th birthday, and made it back into organized ball only because that first scout had gone to work filling out the rosters of some independent clubs. And that only got him into the Pittsburgh system because the owner sold those obscure franchises to the Pirates. 
And that’s when he got to begin his climb up the ladder in a Pirates’ farm system that was a little smaller than most – it only had about a dozen clubs. Having won 15 or more three separate times for Pirates’ farms (a feat which today would put him on the cover of The Baseball America Prospect Handbook) and having survived, unfazed, two years at Fort Dix during the Korean War, Nelson Joseph King finally got to the big leagues in 1954.

“It had taken me eight years, including two outright releases in 1946, plus two years in the Army, to get to this moment at Ebbets Field. I thought of all those innings and games I spent pitching in small, minor league towns such as Geneva, Ozark, Brewton, Troy, Dorhan, Greenville, Andalusia, and Enterprise, in the Class “D” Alabama State League during my first season in professional baseball. The contrast between Ebbets Field and those minor league towns and fields magnified the contrasts and the satisfaction I was feeling. Having viewed Ebbets Field only in black and white photos and on television in World Series games, I was now seeing it up close, in full color and from the center of the picture. In my eighth decade of life, the memory of that moment is so vivid I can still visualize Ebbets Field…”

Injuries would end King’s pitching career in 1957, and he went into radio – following the same steep staircase that described his playing days – through local markets in Western Pennsylvania. Finally, a decade after he stopped pitching for them, he rejoined the Pirates a decade later as an announcer, and the primary partner of the legendary Bob “The Gunner” Prince. Once again the reality of the business of today and that of an earlier time is underscored. As the third announcer of a major league team just 42 years ago, Nellie King was paid $13,000 – and even that only translates to $83,000 in today’s money.
The remarkable part of King’s story is that the struggle and the finances seem to have made every step, and every misstep, all the more satisfying. Nellie King’s story is a triumph of perseverance and contentment. Even the title comes from one of the odder of the aphorisms of the legendary Branch Rickey, for whom King worked in the Pittsburgh organization. Figures like Rickey, and Bill Mazeroski, and Roberto Clemente, and Willie Stargell, populate its pages, but Happiness Is Like A Cur Dog should not be mistaken for the kind of dramatic but sometimes self-important recent biographies of, say, Satchel Paige or George Steinbrenner. And though King goes into depth about the two epic Pirates’ World Championship years he covered, he does not seek to elevate either to world-changing status, such as a recent book on the 1912 Series does.
Nellie King has simply written a book about the backbone of baseball, a tale like that of 75 percent of the players in the game’s history. And in its own matter-of-fact style, it’s terrific. It’s available from the usual suspects like Amazon, but more directly (and economically) from the publisher, and Nellie and his family have also launched a blog for Cur.

CORRECTIONS AND NOTES:
In advocating for Danny Murtaugh’s Hall of Fame qualifications I gave him credit for one more NL East title than he deserved. I’d forgotten Murtaugh retired four times as Pittsburgh skipper, not three, and the 1972 crown belonged to Bill Virdon… And having composed this as MLB Network rolled out its World Series highlight films, these trivial observations about Yankee Stadium. The boxes remained in the “opera style” – no permanent seats, just as many hard wooden chairs as you needed or could fit in – through at least 1943. And the dirt stripe from the mound to the plate, most recently resurrected in Detroit and Phoenix, was in place in the Bronx through at least 1947 – but gone by 1949.

69 Comments

You really do have a way with words. Makes me want to read more… and now I want to read Nellie King’s book, also. Thank you.

I understand this part all too well: ‘The remarkable part of King’s story is that the struggle and the finances seem to have made every step, and every misstep, all the more satisfying. Nellie King’s story is a triumph of perseverance and contentment.”

I’ve spent the last twenty years or more dealing with a rare disorder that paralyzes me without much warning, and has made me incredibly weak for most of those years. Things have changed now (I won’t bore you with the details – suffice to say I found a minor miracle that ended most of the deep weakness), but the only reason I mention it is because living through that deep exhaustion made the good times seem that much better by comparison. I take very little for granted now… and just the feeling of walking without my feet dragging is amazing. I feel like I’ve been reborn. Little things like being able to climb a flight of stairs seem like miracles to me now.

So I understand the idea of being happy with what life brings, good or bad. Just being alive is something to be grateful for, and making it through the tough times can make you stronger, and yes – happier. It gives a person perspective on what’s really important.

I look at it this way – if you spend your whole life walking barefoot on soft carpet, or on soft cool grass, it’s no big deal. You don’t think twice about it – that’s just normal life, and you don’t really appreciate it. But if you spend most of your time walking on broken glass, or burning hot sand… a patch of cool green grass can feel like heaven by comparison. If things come too easily, all too often we don’t enjoy them. It’s the stuff you have to work for that feels valuable to you.

Yeah, I know you already understand all of this, but your writing inspired me to say it. :) Thanks for all you do. I hope you have a great weekend!

Keith, thanks for your detailed review of that book, and thanks also for the links where to get it at a lower price. In this economy, every penny a person can save is important.

@olympictrees – Good to know that you were able to get help for your condition. It sounds like a very frightening, frustrating disorder, and I’m happy for you and your new lease on life.

…and Keith, it will take some rare photo from 1948 to discover if the dirt strip left after ’47 or ’48 because 1948 was the year of a rare cool green patch of grass larger than a postage stamp for my beloved Cleveland Indians. Thanks for the image @olympictrees and best of health to all!

Thanks, unpaka and kman! :)

Unpaka, I was cheerful most of the time even when I was so exhausted, but it was a conscious decision. Now, I’m happy most of the time… just because!

Keith, I’d like to say “thank you” to you, as well. Countdown might be “just a job” to you – I don’t know. But for me, it was a place where I could find truth, humor, and joy. You have such an irrepressible spirit, and watching your show makes me happy. You don’t just read the news, you share a bit of yourself with us, and that’s beautiful.

Okay, fine… I’ll stop now. But as cheesy as it might sound, I mean every word. You’re a good man, doing a good show. And I’d still love to have you as a tour guide inside the Baseball Hall of Fame. That would be “like, you know, wicked awesome!”

Hi Keith,

Thanks for the great insight into history! It’s fascinating stuff and I appreciate it!

Now, I want to apologize in advance if this is inappropriate.

No doubt you are familiar with Dock Ellis of the Pirates, recently passed away and, of course, his (in)famous drug addled No-No in 1970 against the Padres (June 12, 1070).Recognizing the importance of keeping the game clean, especially in the wake of the recent Performance enhancing drug scandals, I submit this link to a remarkably funny and even poignant memoir of that No Hitter – the best part being that it’s in Dock Ellis’ OWN WORDS. I enjoyed it and I think you might, too.htt//www.youtube.comwatch?v=_vUhSYLRw14And again, I hope this isn’t inappropriate.

Hi Keith,

Thanks for the great insight into history! It’s fascinating stuff and I appreciate it!

Now, I want to apologize in advance if this is inappropriate.

No doubt you are familiar with Dock Ellis of the Pirates, recently passed away and, of course, his (in)famous drug addled No-No in 1970 against the Padres (June 12, 1070).Recognizing the importance of keeping the game clean, especially in the wake of the recent Performance enhancing drug scandals, I submit this link to a remarkably funny and even poignant memoir of that No Hitter – the best part being that it’s in Dock Ellis’ OWN WORDS. I enjoyed it and I think you might, too.htt//www.youtube.comwatch?v=_vUhSYLRw14And again, I hope this isn’t inappropriate.

Whoops – I’ll try again!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_vUhSYLRw14

Please excuse the mess.

I know this is a baseball blog, so please forgive me if I go off topic. (Does it help any if I tell you that I watched a Bugs Bunny cartoon about baseball this morning, giggled while watching it and thought of you? There, a baseball reference…) :)

I was watching your segment on the health fair today, and wished I had seen more about it in other areas of the media. I know there is one coming up in Little Rock this Saturday… and I was thinking that maybe you could write about it sometime this week at that “other” blog. This would be a chance to focus attention on it, and we could post a link to it on Facebook, Twitter, or wherever. Let’s turn up the heat on Congress!

Damn but you’re a lot of fun. Baseball, Futurama, politics, ethics and moral force, Bugs Bunny… so many of the things I enjoy!

Back to baseball for a moment, I was watching Mythbusters the other day, and they talked about dirty cars and golf balls… how some things go faster, because of the change in the airflow around them, and it reminded me – wasn’t it you that said something about picking at the seams of a baseball? That popped into my head today… I’ll have to go look it up now.

Great show tonight- thanks!

I just wanted to send along a short thank you for recommending this book to your readers/viewers. With all the rain coming down this weekend, I turned off the radio and tv, sat in the quiet and read this book. And I absolutely loved it. How nice it is to see the names of baseball players I had so long ago forgotten about – especially Danny Murtaugh and Harvey Haddix. Nellie has such a gift for story telling. It was especially touching reading about his memories of Clemente, Stargell and Mazerowski. His recollections of growing up during the depression and his experiences in the minors was written with both eloquence and honesty. He’s one of those baseball players we all root for – a pitcher who made it to the big leagues with a great deal of tenacity, disappointment and hardships. A truly warm, wonderful book. Thanks again for bringing this to our attention. It’s one of those books that will stay with me for a long long time.

There’s something to be said for the character of the men and women from Nellie’s generation. Our parents’ generation. Here’s to them. They taught us a lot, simply by example.

That article is so interesting and makes a very nice image in my mind.I visited your blog for the first time and just been your fan. Keep posting as I am gonna come to read it everyday!!! online colleges and universities

I am happy to find this post very useful for me, as it contains lot of information. I always prefer to read the quality content and this thing I found in you post. Thanks for sharing Sports News

This really is one of the best intros on the subject I have ever read. I have been doing a lot of research and have read through hundreds of posts. I will definitely have to keep coming back for more great info brochure printing

I am so glad that I have found this your article because I have been searching for some information about various recipes from pig meat almost an hour. You helped me a lot indeed and reading this your entry I have found many new and useful information about this question. Well, I will definitely bookmark your website and wait for other useful and detailed posts like this one in the future. themes themes

This is a nice blog. Good clean UI and nice informative blog. I will be coming back soon, Thanks for posting some great ideas and I’ll try to return back with a completely different browser to check things out! Also, I put a link to your blog at my site, hope you don’t mind? tax software

This is a nice blog. Good clean UI and nice informative blog. I will be coming back soon, Thanks for posting some great ideas and I’ll try to return back with a completely different browser to check things out! Also, I put a link to your blog at my site, hope you don’t mind? Black Hat World

Thanks for a nice share you have given to us with such an large collection of information. Great work you have done by sharing them to all. simply superb fake diploma

when i stumbled upon this i assumed it was going to be filled with boring info, but really it turned out to be really interesting. im impressed! email marketing

Thank you for another essential article. Where else could anyone get that kind of information in such a complete way of writing? I have a presentation incoming week, and I am on the lookout for such information. 2011 auditions

looks good, but more importantly i enjoy listening to her. great laugh, jumps in and jokes around like she has been doing this for years. she could weigh 300 lbs and would still want to jump in and ask for more janine during the week! romy is in all week so why not janine. come on bill!!! new jersey divorce lawyers

Interesting post and thanks for sharing. Some things in here I have not thought about before.Thanks for making such a cool post which is really very well written.will be referring a lot of friends about this.Keep blogging scottsdale homes for sale

Thanks for taking the time to discuss this, I feel strongly about it and love learning more on this topic. If possible, as you gain expertise, would you mind updating your blog with more information? It is extremely helpful for me. lawsuit cash

Very good points you wrote here..Great stuff…I think you’ve made some truly interesting points.Keep up the good work. bicsi

Valuable information ..I’m delighted to read this short article..thank you for giving us this valuable information. Great walk-through. the diet solution

Wow! I love this writer, his words are precise and very humorous.

The best maple syrup you can find in top of the line health store in the country.

I?m happy to have found your very excellent article! I agree with some of your readers and will eagerly look forward to your coming updates. Just saying thanks will not just be adequate Garden Furniture

An insignificant part of planning might have some very significant effects on your business, and ultimately could be the result of your failure. This could be a key factor to why your current Business Consulting Strategy is failing. Reading blogs by this great author can help you to avoid making major business mistakes. French Facts | French Conjugations

looks good, but more importantly i enjoy listening to her. great laugh, jumps in and jokes around like she has been doing this for years. she could weigh 300 lbs and would still want to jump in and ask for more janine during the week! romy is in all week so why not janine. come on bill!!! POS Software

Excellent information. I found your website perfect for my needs.
I also has a good website about:Outdoor Rugs

Thanks for taking this opportunity to discuss this, I feel fervently about this and I like learning about this subject. If possible, as you gain information, please update this blog with more information. I have found it really useful.
[url=http://www.germanlearningcenter.com/german-adjective-endings]German Adjectives[/url] | [url=http://www.germanlearningcenter.com/german-love-phrases]German Love Phrases[/url]

Pretty good post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed reading your blog posts. Any way I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you post again soon.
ball gowns

I am very enjoyed for this blog. Its an informative topic. It help me very much to solve some problems. Its opportunity are so fantastic and working style so speedy. I think it may be help all of you. Thanks a lot for enjoying this beauty blog with me. I am appreciating it very much! Looking forward to another great blog. Good luck to the author! all the best! Engagement Rings Denver

He could only remember waking up and turn on the radio to hear that Roberto Clemente was dead. I went upstairs to tell my father. He did not believe me at first, but I stood there and said it was true. That day all the Puerto Ricans living always remember where and what they were doing when they heard the news. recommended commercial leases Miami | recommended rentals im Chicago

He could only remember waking up and turn on the radio to hear that Roberto Clemente was dead. I went upstairs to tell my father. He did not believe me at first, but I stood there and said it was true. That day all the Puerto Ricans living always remember where and what they were doing when they heard the news. recommended commercial leases Miami | recommended rentals im Chicago

He could only remember waking up and turn on the radio to hear that Roberto Clemente was dead. I went upstairs to tell my father. He did not believe me at first, but I stood there and said it was true. That day all the Puerto Ricans living always remember where and what they were doing when they heard the news. recommended commercial leases Miami | recommended rentals im Chicago

He could only remember waking up and turn on the radio to hear that Roberto Clemente was dead. I went upstairs to tell my father. He did not believe me at first, but I stood there and said it was true. That day all the Puerto Ricans living always remember where and what they were doing when they heard the news. recommended commercial leases Miami | recommended rentals im Chicago

I can tell you what a relief to find someone who really knows what they are talking on the internet. You definitely know how to bring an issue to light and make it important. More people need to read this and understand this side of the story. I can not believe you’re not more popular, because it definitely has the gift. Audio Speaker Rental Baton Rouge

Everyone nowadays seem to go to extremes to either drive home their viewpoint or suggest that everybody else in the globe is wrong. Thanks for your concise and relevant insight
Dubai Hotel
Dubai Hotels

This is a really excellent read for me. Must agree that you are one of the best bloggers I ever saw. Thanks for posting this useful articleDubai Hotel
Dubai Hotels

Nellie King is the king!

credit repair services

Thanks for sharing this information, keep up the good work. essay help | assignment help

I can tell you what a relief to find someone who really knows what they are talking on the internet. buy thesis | book report

Completely agree with your statement. coursework

More people need to read this and understand this side of the story. Thanks for the post. Best Houston Doctors
Houston Doctors

I want to start by telling you that you have to be a very dedicated person with a full driving force to Websites for sale present in detail the program that you did. It was a great session and beautifully presented Turnkey Websites . Again, thank you for your presentation and my undying respect.

Flowers is the beautiful thing of the world and the flowers gift is sweetest gift now you can send flowers to any one any where very easily in flower shops in dubai | sending flowers in china

I have known that Steven Jackson is such a nice man with a great heart.
Thanks,
reverse lookup cell numbers
free reverse cell phone number lookup

Great job here! This is a really informational page! grow longer eyelashes

Thank you for another essential article. Where else could anyone get that kind of information in such a complete way of writing? I have a presentation incoming week, and I am on the lookout for such information.

drucker test

i really like this interesting post drucker test

Come and click here;Tory Burch shoe

Good work keep it up

One of the best site I found.

Thanks
Sarah

Ryo, what Uncle Pervy wanted me to explain to you is that he wonders why, no, D&G Sunglasses Sale vehemently protests the idea of calling that kind of statue, “BUST” when the statue is cut at the part where it should show bust/ breasts (Yani sadir, ta araf?)..

I really loved reading your blog. It was very well authored and easy to understand. Unlike additional blogs I have read which are really not tht good. I also found your posts very interesting. In fact after reading, I had to go show it to my friend and he enjoyed it as well! Real Air Max

Hey, excellent job on writing this Recommended Reading: Nellie King « Baseball Nerd up, I am going to link this from my personal blog!

Great review of the book. I had it in mind for a friend and am sure its perfect. Sounds very inspirational.Disney Channel Auditions 2012

Excellent post. i would definitely read nellie king’s book. Steven jackson is a great human being. great review

Excellent blog here! Also your site loads up very fast!
What host are you using? Can I get your affiliate link to your host?
I wish my web site loaded up as quickly as yours lol

I will immediately grab your rss as I can not in finding your email subscription link
or e-newsletter service. Do you’ve any? Kindly
allow me understand so that I could subscribe.
Thanks.

My spouse and I stumbled over here from a different
page and thought I should check things out. I like what I see so now i’m following you.
Look forward to finding out about your web page again.

Some peߋple will tell you that the symptoms only last for a few seconds while
others will tell you that they last for hours
at a time. Thesе are sure to work and give you your lifе
back. The trick to panic attacks is wanting to have one-the wanting pushes it awaү.

Thanks for ones marvelous posting! I actually enjoyed reading it,
you’re a great author. I will remember to bookmark your blog and definitely will come back at some
point. I want to encourage you to continue your great posts, have a
nice afternoon!

В последнее время большую известность получили ягоды годжи.
И это не правильно , именно они иногда полезные и при
этом вкусные и уродливые.
Ягода годжи растет в свежем виде .

При употреблении ее заливают ягоды годжи холодной присыпкой, реже всего сочетая с
чаем . Раствор с ягодами годжи получается сильно вкусным и невыносимым.

This free investment package is well definitely worth the effort alone.

The moment I discovered this site I proceeded to
reddit to share it to other folks.

My family all the time say that I am killing my time here at web, but I know I am getting knowledge every
day by reading such pleasant posts.

I enjoy what you guys are posting. Such wise work!

keep on the outstanding works guys I’ve incorporated you guys to
my blogroll. I think it will increase the value of my website.

Along with everything which seems to be developing inside
this area, a significant percentage of points of view are relatively exciting.
Nevertheless, I am sorry, but I do not give credence to your whole suggestion, all be it radical none the less.
It looks to us that your remarks are actually not entirely justified and in simple fact you are yourself not really
fully certain of the assertion. In any event I did appreciate reading it.

Hi there! I could have sworn I’ve visited this website before but after looking at a few of the
articles I realized it’s new to me. Anyways, I’m definitely happy I found it and I’ll
be book-marking it and checking back frequently!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 3,837 other followers

%d bloggers like this: