Kline, King forming dynamic tandem

Steve Kline and Ray King give Tony LaRussa a luxury that few managers have: Two dependable relievers from the left side.

Originally Published: August 4, 2004
By Jerry Crasnick | ESPN Insider
Steve Kline grew up in the hills of western Pennsylvania and never forgot his roots, which are knee deep in manure. His family ran a pig farm, and the five Kline boys took turns doing their share. When young Steve wasn't helping out with chores, he was getting his uniform dirty on the ballfield. His teammates called him "Pig Pen'' and "Groundhog.''

Ray King was born in Chicago, where he spent the first 14 years of his life surrounded by asphalt and concrete. His athletic exploits were limited primarily to the local rec league. Then the family moved to Tennessee, and King discovered baseball, football, basketball, cross country and fresh air -- not necessarily in that order.

The two pitchers, now teammates and bullpen buddies in St. Louis, are different in many ways. King is black. Kline is white. King is urban. Kline is rural. King, while amply proportioned at 6-1 and 242 pounds, looks GQ-worthy when he's all dressed up for a road trip. Kline matriculates at the John Deere School of Fashion.

Jerry Crasnick

ESPN Senior Writer