Here’s a guy born and bred in Walla Walla who grew up to consecutively strike out Willie Mays, Roberto Clemente, Brooks Robinson, Willie McCovey, Maury Wills and Harmon Killebrew. He aced the lineup in the same 1967 exhibition-game at Dodger Stadium.
During his heyday, Eddie “The King” Feigner pitched for the barnstorming four-man fast-pitch softball team The King and His Court.
For an amazing decades-long career, Eddie was inducted into the State of Washington Sports Hall of Fame at an Aug. 3 ceremony during a Mariner’s game on Seattle’s Safeco Field. Eddie Feigner Jr. stood in for his father, who died at 81 in 2007.
Other inductees honored were 11-time Gold Cup hydroplane driver Chip Hanauer, Alvin “Mr. Mariner” Davis, Washington State University grad and former longtime sportscaster Keith Jackson, former University of Washington and Seattle SuperSonics/NBA standout Detlef Shrempf and former NFL quarterback Jack Thompson.
“I’m a pipsqueak because I’m caught in a nothing game,” Eddie once said. “It’s like being a world-champion nose blower.”
“Wrong,” reported John McGrath on Aug. 5 in The News Tribune in Tacoma. “It was like being a world-champion underhanded softball pitcher. Feigner won 9,743 times, struck out 141,517 hitters and threw 930 no-hitters, of which 238 were perfect games.”
Over a 54-year career while sporting a Johnny Unitas buzz-top haircut, Eddie recorded 8,698 strikeouts, which surpassed by nearly 3,000 Nolan Ryan’s major-league record 5,714. All achieved while blindfolded. In the usual fashion he struck out 132,812 other batters, firing off pitches while kneeling and from second base, behind his back and between his legs.
At 56, when a labor stalemate shut down Major League baseball in 1981, his four-man team challenged and overpowered a nine-man team of mostly big leaguers before 16,000 fans in Pontiac, Mich.
Also blindfolded, he dislodged a cigar from the mouth of host Johnny Carson while on the “The Tonight Show.”
I learned about Eddie’s feats from former Walla Wallan Mike Barer, who wrote about Eddie’s induction in the state hall of fame on Barers of Maple Valley/My views of home, family and world events.