11/05/10 — 'Mr. Clyde' graciously shared life

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'Mr. Clyde' graciously shared life

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on November 5, 2010 1:46 PM

Spending time with Mr. Clyde King was like falling into a history book -- with one slight difference.

Mr. Clyde never bored you with dates, places and times.

Mr. Clyde always enthralled his listeners with riveting tales about his travels and friends that left you on the edge of your seat, and begging for more even if you didn't ask. I didn't experience the fortune of listening to Mr. Clyde speak too many times. When I did, he reminded me of my grandfather who used to put me on his knee and tell me stories as a youngster.

Mr. Clyde had that warmth about him. He never turned down the opportunity to speak to you, no matter where you were at the time. His eyes always twinkled, a smile curled his lip and he greeted you with a firm handshake. The strong grip convinced you that he undoubtedly baffled opposing hitters with an arsenal of pitches while playing nearly a decade in the Major Leagues.

It's a cliché, but Mr. Clyde was one of a kind.

And he'll be missed.

Long-time friend George Whitfield and I spoke Tuesday afternoon as Mr. Clyde fought for his life. You could hear the angst in Whitfield's voice as he described how his good friend was hanging on with his family by his side.

Later that evening, his voice cracking from emotion, George left a voicemail on my cell phone.

"Clyde passed away about 20 minutes ago," said his solemn friend.

An ailing heart, injuries from a fall and other factors began taking a toll on Mr. Clyde's daily life, but he refused to relinquish his soul or spirit. It lives in each one of us who ever spent a minute with him.

You see, Mr. Clyde was more than just baseball.

He was more than just a husband, a father, a manager and a friend. And he probably forgot more about the grand old national pasttime than most people will ever remember in their lifetime.

This 86-year-old gentleman was a beacon of inspiration because he graciously took the time to accept you, regardless of who you were, into his life. Whether it was signing a baseball, showing you his World Series rings (all seven of them, sometimes), signing an autograph or taking a photo, he made an unforgettable imprint.

Mr. Clyde's faith in God always found a way into your heart. He could find a way to lift you up and make you feel better about yourself. He had an infectious personality, and no matter how bad your day might have been, he knew and sometimes shared that having God by your side was the best thing life has to offer.

Mr. Clyde was peacefully laid to rest this afternoon.

Hopefully, we can continue to carry Mr. Clyde's light in our souls and honor a man who was a great friend to all of us in different ways.