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It was that gorgeous voice in my ear. If silk could speak it would be this voice coming through the phone to me.

It was Ken Korach talking, Korach the voice of the Oakland A's. I'd listen to him read a menu, something I've done, by the way. But it wasn't Korach talking about Korach. It was Korach talking about Bill King, his former broadcasting partner on the A's, King a legend among Bay Area broadcasters and fans, and this book soon to be a legend among sports books.

Korach wrote a book about King called, of course, "Holy Toledo," King's signature phrase. I can hear Bill shouting it right now — "Holy Toledo!!!!"

God, I miss him. I bet you do, too. What a great announcer he was in basketball, football and baseball. And what a great guy.

So many people miss him as friend, a mentor, an authority on just about everything: sports, haute cuisine, Russian literature, art — he was a connoisseur of art and a painter. Bill King crammed seven lifetimes into his one life — he hated to sleep. And Korach amazingly captures all seven of those lives in this lovely, loving, joyful rendering of Bill, published by Wellstone Books.

Korach and I talked over the phone recently and we immediately got to 'Holy Toledo,' the phrase. "It was instantaneously a trigger, a trip back in time to when I was a kid," Korach said, becoming a kid again for a moment. "When I worked with Bill, he would say Holy Toledo. And I would say to myself right there in the booth, 'Hey, that sounds like something Bill might have said in 1966.'

"Holy Toledo was like an exclamation point. This is really important. Bill led you to a certain feeling this was beyond the normal event sense of amazement. And Bill had so much credibility he wouldn't just throw away a Holy Toledo gratuitously."

I asked Korach what made the words Holy Toledo special.

"They came off Bill's tongue the way he wanted," Korach said. "For all of his interests and all he loved to do, he got the greatest kick out of speaking and broadcasting. Nothing in his life could replace having a mic and doing a game — talking. He loved the act of broadcasting. Holy Toledo, it had to be the number of syllables. They were the perfect way for him to form that exclamation."

Bill was a stickler about words. Take what happened between Korach and Bill one day in the booth. Here is Korach from the book, page 215: "I used the word 'forte' and pronounced it for-tay. He gave me one of his serious Bill looks. 'I thought you knew better,' he said. 'What's that, Bill?' 'For-tay is OK to some people, but fort is the proper way to say it,' Bill replied. 'If you want to get it right, the way the word was meant to be said and should be said is fort.'"

Things like that happened a million times. Korach told me another word story, not in the book. "One time, I said swinging bunt. Now, it's a commercial. Bill says, 'It's not a swinging bunt, Ken. It's either a swing or a bunt. It can't be both.' He would be incredulous when people would use the word 'penultimate' the wrong way, as if they meant the greatest. I never took offense when he corrected me. Let's get it right."

Korach joined Bill in the booth after Bill had worked with Lon Simmons. Big shoes to fill. "I was touched by how Bill felt about me when I came in that booth in '96 after he had worked 15 years with Lon," Korach told me. "He welcomed me as a peer, not as if he was an icon and I was a rookie. In a sense, I wrote the book to repay him, to thank a guy who made me feel worthwhile. I was working with my hero.

"We had a special friendship. I was blown away when Bill would show respect for me. You listen to someone for 30 years and idolize him and now you're paired with him. That just doesn't happen. We had a friendship that went beyond doing games together."

Bill never called Korach "Ken" on the air. It was always "partner," to show they were equal, to show they were co-workers and teammates, to show Korach wasn't merely a No.2 guy, to show Bill endorsed him.

Bill was a great action announcer. There never has been anyone better. He was brilliant at describing that thing taking place on the field or on the court, at painting word pictures in your mind that were so vivid you were there at the event even if you were home on your couch.

Here is Korach on Bill from the book: "Bill King was the greatest sportscaster this country has ever produced. He was the most erudite person I've ever met. He was the most intelligent, the most ardent and the most unalterable."

And he brought Korach along. Korach had started right here in the Redwood Empire. "I moved to Santa Rosa in 1979," he told me. "My first job in broadcasting was KTOB Radio in Petaluma. In the fall of 1980, I did high school sports, a talk show and news. Then I did Sonoma State football and baseball for three years starting in 1982. And I did two seasons of Single-A baseball with the Redwood Pioneers of the California League. My last year was 1984."

Bill isn't in any broadcasting hall of fame. It's a laughable omission, although in a strange way it's understandable. He was unsurpassed in three sports and that meant he wasn't identified with any one sport over another, although to him baseball was the Holy Grail.

Fans can vote for him right now, can vote for the Ford C. Frick Award for excellence in baseball broadcasting. They can go to the Hall of Fame's Facebook page: www.facebook.com/baseballhall. The voting is open to fans through Sept. 30. The fans will select three candidates to be part of a 10-announcer field. Bill has made the final 10 but has not been voted in. Astonishing.

I don't want to leave you with a sad thought. So take a deep breath and, all together now and using all the syllables as Bill would, shout, "Ho-ly To-le-do!"

For more on the world of sports in general and the Bay Area in particular, go to the Cohn Zohn at cohn.blogs.pressdemocrat.com. You can reach Staff Columnist Lowell Cohn at lowell.cohn@pressdemocrat.com.