Brian Kingman, Pitcher APRIL 27, 1981

Oct. 07, 2002
Oct. 07, 2002

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Oct. 7, 2002

Brian Kingman, Pitcher APRIL 27, 1981

He was the last major league pitcher to lose 20 games in a season
and the first one since 1922 to lose that many with a winning
team, and Brian Kingman is strangely proud of that dubious feat.
He has given his blessing to an Internet site devoted to it
( and written a poem about it. "It's funny
now," Kingman says of his 1980 debacle, when he went 8-20 for
Billy Martin's Oakland A's. "But the first five years afterward
were painful, a nightmare really. I wouldn't read the sports
page. I even put a blown-up, framed poster of our pitching staff
on the cover of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED out in the garage."

This is an article from the Oct. 7, 2002 issue Original Layout

The A's went 83-79 in '80, their first season under Martin, and
Kingman's fellow starters had career seasons: Mike Norris won 22,
Rick Langford 19, Matt Keough 16 and Steve McCatty 14. But
Kingman never recovered from a midseason falling out with Martin
and went 1-9 down the stretch, finishing with the 20 losses
despite a 3.83 ERA.

Over the next two seasons Kingman went 7-18, then pitched eight
innings in the majors in '83 and struggled the following season
in the minors before retiring. A graduate of UC Santa Barbara
with degrees in psychology and sociology, he started selling real
estate to support his family--wife Diane and their two sons,
Matthew, now 19, and Alex, 17. In 1988 he became a manager for
Any Kind Check Cashing. For the past six years he has been the
CEO of Service Annex, a check-cashing firm with 68 employees in
California and Nevada and a revenue of $100 million last year.

Since Kingman's retirement, only 10 pitchers have flirted with
the 20-loss mark, including the Philadelphia Phillies' Omar Daal,
who had a 3-19 record with two starts remaining in 2000. Kingman
flew to see Daal's starts--one win and a no decision--and says he
willed him not to lose. "Right now I'm the answer to a trivia
question," says Kingman. "But whenever anyone loses 19, I'm on
trivia death row."

To preserve Kingman's celebrity status, a colleague created last year as a birthday gift for the
once-embattled righthander. The site contains lists of 20-game
losers, including those who made the Hall of Fame (Cy Young,
Walter Johnson and Steve Carlton, to name a few). "My wife thinks
I'm nuts," says Kingman, who studies 20-game losing lore. "She
thinks I'll get depressed if someone actually loses 20."
--Glenn Kaplan

COLOR PHOTO: ANDY HAYT (COVER) ROYAL PAIN A 20-loss season in 1980 was Kingman's crowning achievement. COLOR PHOTO: TODD BIGELOW/AURORA The CEO of a check-cashing firm, Kingman lives in Phoenix and commutes to Los Angeles almost every week.