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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Vascellaro: The King and I – Remembering and Writing About Dave Kingman

A couple of years ago I saw Kingman sitting at one of the aforementioned autograph tables during a spring training game at Hohokam Park in Mesa. I introduced myself just as I did this past spring; I mentioned the home run ball from 1979, and some of the writing I had done on him since. He didn’t acknowledge having any memory of our previous meetings, which I thought was kind of peculiar. I thought for sure he must have remembered that last night of his career in Phoenix, or that he may have seen or read the Baseball Weekly piece or Giants Spring Training Magazine story. Perhaps he does know who I am and thinks I’m just another ####### writer.

After seeing Kingman on the first day that I was in Arizona for the Cactus League season this past spring, I caught up with him again, sitting at the autograph table at Scottsdale Stadium on his last day in town. I told him I just wanted to say hello and goodbye and mention the presentation I will be making about the influence he had on my career at the 50th Anniversary of the New York Mets Conference at Hofstra University. He smiled and was polite but he didn’t seem all that interested.

Before it got any more awkward I shook his hand and said goodbye and handed him a copy of the photo of the two of us taken earlier in the month which I autographed it for him at no charge.

Thanks to John Thorn.

Repoz Posted: July 26, 2012 at 08:25 AM | 14 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: giants, history, mets

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   1. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: July 26, 2012 at 11:09 AM (#4192597)
Interesting read. I can understand the obsession over Kingman as a kid, but you kind of have to wonder at the continued fascination, as a grown man, with a guy who was never really that great a player, was a chauvinist a-hole, and barely acknowledges your existence. I'm not familiar with the rest of Vascellaro's writing; maybe this piece is not representative (it appears he's also written bios of Hank Aaron and Manny Ramirez). If this were one of my friends, I would just assume he kept going back to the Kingman well because he wanted to re-use the same paper in multiple classes, but this guy goes way beyond that.
   2. Comic Strip Person Posted: July 26, 2012 at 11:14 AM (#4192601)
It appears someone accidentally deleted the part at the end that details where he has hidden Kingman's body.
   3. bob gee Posted: July 26, 2012 at 11:18 AM (#4192603)
and i thought "give the guy $20, you're obviously getting more about any association with him than the reverse".
   4. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: July 26, 2012 at 11:27 AM (#4192618)
Well, that was strange, and sort of creepy.
   5. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: July 26, 2012 at 11:31 AM (#4192624)
Hey, long time no see big Dong...I mean Kong. KONG. Heh heh. Haven't had my coffee yet! Anyhoo...here's a picture of us together. I took the liberty of having it framed in this heart-shaped cover. The frame is real silver! Heh heh! And I won't even charge you 20 dollars for the inscription I wrote on the back! So, uh, any good coffee places around here? I mean, they must give you a break some time, right? Am I right? I'm so, right, aren't I? Heh heh heh! I mean, wow, so GOOD to see you again!
   6. zonk Posted: July 26, 2012 at 12:03 PM (#4192661)
he didn’t seem all that interested


That's how you know it was Kong...

In the days before WARP/OPS+/etc - Kingman was certainly fascinating. I was quite young when Kingman became something of a Cubs legend for a season - he could have easily been beloved by Chicago's north side - but the memories of his mammoth HRs were still strong enough that I can remember slightly older Cubs fans bringing them up as the stuff of legend... then, you'd hear the stories of his #############.

He'd be the unanimous pick for DH on the all-time prick team.... and if the AAAL (All-American ####### League) plays without a DH, then you'd have to live with him in a corner OF spot.
   7. dr. scott Posted: July 26, 2012 at 02:18 PM (#4192810)
Technically, since the AAAL is full of ********, they will, of course, have a DH.
   8. Everybody Loves Tyrus Raymond Posted: July 26, 2012 at 03:13 PM (#4192840)
Definitely a bit on the weird side. If I were Kingman and did remember this guy, I'd play it cool as not to encourage him.

Also, someone needs to tell this guy the following of putting a space between paragraphs.
   9. jack the seal clubber (on the sidelines of life) Posted: July 26, 2012 at 04:23 PM (#4192883)
#5 is a riot.

I see a restraining order in somebody's future here.
   10. attaboy Posted: July 26, 2012 at 04:58 PM (#4192914)
I have a friend who is (was) a huge Bobby Mercer fan and this article reminded me so much of him I sent it to him and laughed the entire time sending it. Other than his very peculiar Bobby Mercer fascination, my friend is a very cool, nice person but when he went to a Bobby mercer signing in a little town in New York, he became a bumbling idiot. Started to show him a diary he kept of Mercer's 1977 season (!) with the Cubs and hilarity ensued! I think it was Horace Clarke next to him skimming through the pages and reading aloud how Mercer had a bunch of 0 fers and the author mentioning how Mercer was doing his best Jim Mason impersonation. My friend was completely beside himself for having written that and that is what Mercer heard out of the hundreds of writing (which in and of itself is scary)!
   11. Esoteric Posted: July 26, 2012 at 05:14 PM (#4192930)
I finally read this article. It's deeply sad and weird.
   12. Guapo Posted: July 26, 2012 at 05:42 PM (#4192955)
If it makes him feel better, this dude is not alone.
   13. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: July 26, 2012 at 10:16 PM (#4193256)
I have a friend who is (was) a huge Bobby Mercer fan

I hope your friend knew how to spell his name
   14. Srul Itza Posted: July 26, 2012 at 10:23 PM (#4193260)
If Kingman had come up in the Boston system and been their designated hitter, it would have been awesome. He still would have been an arse, but it would have been a blast to watch him spend his career dropping high flies over the Monster.

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