Before he was twenty-one, King had helped pitch St. Louis to two AA pennants (1887 and 1888) and recorded the first two of four consecutive seasons in which he would win more than 30 games. His finest and busiest–year was 1888, when he led the AA with personal bests in complete games (64), innings pitched (586), wins (45), shutouts (6), and ERA (1.64). His 258 strikeouts in 1888, also a personal high, were second best in the AA.
This fastball pitcher played as Silver King: “King” from the translation of the German, “Koenig;” “Silver” for a thatch of hair that resembled burnished silver. Wide-shouldered, with long, powerful arms and tremendous hands, King is credited with being the first to use a sidearm delivery. He mixed fastballs, curves, and changes, using just one motion, disdaining a windup.