OAKLAND -- Although the legendary broadcaster and former A's radio play-by-play voice Bill King passed away four years ago, the Oakland Athletics continue to honor his memory. On Sunday afternoon, they presented the third annual Bill King Scholarship to Justin Riray, a senior at San Jose State who is studying broadcast journalism. King's former partners on the air, Ray Fosse and Ken Korach, were on hand to present the $3,000 scholarship to Riray before Sunday's game against the Angels. "My dad listened to Bill King on the radio a lot and talked to me about him," said Riray. "Earning this scholarship means a lot to me because it's from one of my favorite Bay Area sports teams. This one's special."
With the cost of tuition on the rise in a majority of colleges across the nation, Riray said the scholarship comes at a good time. He said he contemplated taking a semester off from his studies at San Jose State in order to work full-time to earn enough money to pay for his classes. "My mom didn't want me to take a semester off," the Pittsburg, Calif., native said. "This scholarship will help pay for most of next semester and it means a lot to my family, too." "The scholarship is a tremendous idea," said Korach, who worked with King for 10 years. "Anything the A's can do the help young people is good, and to have it in the name of Bill is great. It's a perfect tribute. Anything to continue his legacy is a great thing." King, who popularized catch phrases like "Holy Toledo" in the Bay Area, spent five decades thrilling fans with his vivid and colorful descriptions of some of the most historic moments in the annals of three of the Bay Area's major sports teams. King served as the play-by-play voice for the A's for 25 years before passing away on Oct. 18, 2005, at the age of 78. The Bill King Scholarship fund was established in 2006 and will award scholarships annually to college students in the Bay Area majoring in broadcasting or journalism. Interested candidates can request an application by contacting Detra Paige, A's community relations director, by phone at 510-563-2241 or via e-mail at email@example.com. Candidates must be full-time students in their sophomore, junior or senior year at a college or university in the Bay Area, prove financial need as evidenced by expenses and offset by other scholarships, loans, grants and other sources of supplemental aid, possess a minimum grade point average of 3.0 and show a demonstrated strong interest in pursuing a career in broadcasting or journalism. Funds for the Bill King Scholarship were raised through the sale of commemorative Bill King "Holy Toledo!" patches ($20) and pins ($10) and are currently available at oaklandathletics.com or by calling 510-563-2329. Prior to joining the A's, King was an announcer for the San Francisco/Golden State Warriors from 1962-83 and for the Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders between 1966-92. He was one of the few announcers who balanced play-by-play duties with three major sports franchises simultaneously; doing so for a three-year period in the early '80s. The renowned broadcaster first began his career as part of the Armed Forces Radio Network while being stationed in Guam at the end of World War II. King then embarked on a sports career in the late 1940s. He covered Minor League baseball and high school basketball and football in Pekin, Ill., before moving to the Bay Area in '58, when he started at KSFO radio and joined Ford Frick winner Lon Simmons and Russ Hodges as part of the San Francisco Giant broadcasts. A's fans have the chance to vote for King's candidacy for the National Baseball Hall of Fame by voting for the Ford C. Frick Award. For the seventh straight year, online fan balloting will be used to help determine the final ballot for the Ford C. Frick Award. Fans voting will determine three of the 10 candidates for the 2010 honor. Online voting runs from Dec. 1-31, and fans can cast their votes once per day for up to three baseball broadcasters, exclusively at www.baseballhall.org. The Frick Award has been presented annually since 1978 to a broadcaster who has made a major contribution to the game of baseball. King came out on top on the fan online balloting for the award in 2005 and '06 and finished second behind former Cincinnati Reds' broadcaster Joe Nuxhall in '07. The final ballot will be comprised of three fan selections, along with seven other candidates determined by a Hall of Fame research team. The electorate will then vote, and the 2010 Ford C. Frick Award winner will be announced in February and will be presented at next summer's annual ceremony in Cooperstown.
Cecile Nguyen is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.