Acquired from the Giants in a six-man 1985 trade, King was Tiger Rookie of the Year in 1986 when he replaced injured starter Dan Petry and went 11-4 (6-0 at Tiger Stadium). He moved to the bullpen when Petry returned in 1987, saving nine games for Detroit’s AL East Champions.
Traded to the White Sox in March 1989, King returned to starting and was 9-10 with a 3.39 ERA. He followed that up with another fine season in 1990 (12-4, 3.28) but was dealt to the hapless Indians after the season with Shawn Hillegas in a deal for slugger Cory Snyder.
King struggled at times with his new team, posting a 6-11 record with a 4.60 ERA. While celebrating his best start of the year — a two-hitter against the Texas Rangers in Arlington stadium — King grabbed a bar patron’s cowboy hat, nearly precipitating a brawl and prompting legal action from the aggrieved Texan.
At the end of the year, King’s contract was deemed too expensive by the rebuilding Tribe, and he signed with Detroit for what turned out to be his final major-league season.