RIP to Frank King, a tough hitter on many black baseball clubs in the Atlanta area in the 1930s through the ’50s. He died on December 9 at the age of 95.
“Bubba” King never played in the organized Negro Leagues, but he was on many teams, according to his obituary in the Atlanta Constitution Journal. He played center field for the East Point Mets, East Point Bears, College Park Indians, Atlanta Cardinals and the Atlanta Black Crackers. His daughter said that he was never a power hitter; in fact, he said he never hit a home run in his whole career, which lasted approximately from 1936-1958.
“…but [he] said he can single and double you all day long,” said his daughter Anita Dianne King.
King was born on January 23, 1923. He was married twice in his life and had nine children. He served in the military for three months in 1943 before being discharged due to illness. After King quit playing ball, he was a forklift operator for Food Giant until 1988 and coached softball and baseball teams.
I love the quote from Raymond Doswell, vice president and curator of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City. He helps explain the importance of local teams like the East Point Mets and Atlanta Cardinals, and the players like King who kept black baseball going even after Major League Baseball had been integrated.
“For years, these semi-professional and industrial teams, especially dotted all over the southern United States, provided opportunities and training for young black athletes to later compete on higher levels in the formal Negro Leagues. Dozens of men like Mr. King have slipped through the cracks of history because little information is known or have survived of these minor teams, but baseball is grateful that they kept the spirit and interest of baseball alive for future generations,” he said.