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Saturday, September 24, 2022

Steve King worked for the Department of Defense, then resumed playing career in minors; Made AA

Steve King's first season seemingly went well, but not well enough to get the promotion he expected to get, so he went home - and soon found himself at a new job, with the Department of Defense, he told The Moline Dispatch later.

"Yes, I worked for the Department of Defense," King told The Dispatch in April 1990. "I was an electronics engineer for helicopter warfare. I had top-secret clearance and the whole shot. I did that for two years, but it wasn't baseball. Nothing could fill baseball's void."

Except, of course, baseball. King then returned to the game in 1989, as a 25-year-old in short-season Boise. His return amounted to three extra seasons, including 1990 at single-A Quad City. He topped out at AA.

King's career began in 1986, taken by the Expos in the 25th round of the draft out of Mississippi State University.

While King's career continued after he returned home, it actually wasn't guaranteed to continue after high school. He made the Mississippi State team as a walk-on, his hometown Pensacola News Journal wrote in May 1985.

"Steve is a good addition to our program," Mississippi State coach Ron Polk told The News Journal of the junior King. "Ever since he walked on here at Mississippi State, he has continued to get better and better. He's in the top five in our rotation of pitchers."

King then ended up doing well enough to get drafted by the Expos. He played the 1986 season at single-A Burlington and short-season Jamestown. He went 6-7 over 14 starts overall, with a 3.33 ERA. 

He then spent his two seasons away, with the Department of Defense. He returned for 1989 at short-season Boise. He went 8-3 in 16 outings, 15 starts, with a 2.88 ERA.

He made Quad City in 1990. He saw 31 outings, 20 starts there. He went 9-9, with a 2.70 ERA. He picked up a late win in early September, helping his club clinch the division.

"His last six outings have been good," Quad City manager Don Long told The Quad-City Times of King after that win. "He's getting a feel for pitching and working his way through the game hitter-by-hitter. That's important."

King moved to high-A Palm Springs and AA Midland for 1991. He saw five starts at Midland. He gave up 28 earned runs in 20.1 innings at Midland. That season marked his last as a pro.

1990 Minor League Tally 
Players/Coaches Featured:4,033
Made the Majors:1,340-33.2%
Never Made Majors:2,693-66.8%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors:547
10+ Seasons in the Minors:332

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