During a long period when it was great to be a Pirates fan -- win or lose -- broadcaster Nellie King was one of the people who made it great. One could walk along a western Pennsylvania street and follow the Pirates game, without missing a pitch, from the voices of Bob Prince and Nellie King, relayed by a series of radios on front porches. King's kindness, insight and steady bearing were the perfect complement to Prince's unrestrained, prickly brilliance.
As a player (four Pirates seasons), King never scored a run, never hit safely, never committed an error. But he nonetheless was a great contributor to the game.
After the Pirates become a subsidy-sucking, disgusting laughingstock (and had no use for a man of King's caliber), Nellie King retained his dignity, serving as a coach, publicist and basketball voice for Duquesne University and also serving as a lovable reminder of the Pirates' glory.
A fine man, Nellie King died yesterday, aged 82. If the Pirates, or Pittsburgh, are to regain their footing, they will need to replace the likes of Nellie King.
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