Clyde Edward King (May 23, 1924 – November 2, 2010) was an American pitcher, coach, manager, general manager and front office executive in Major League Baseball. King, whose career in baseball spanned over 60 years, was perhaps best known for his longtime role as a special baseball advisor to George Steinbrenner, late owner of the New York Yankees. During his on-field career he managed the San Francisco Giants (1969–70), Atlanta Braves (1974–75) and Yankees (part of 1982), finishing with a career record of 234 wins and 229 defeats (.505).
Born in Goldsboro, North Carolina, King attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. A 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m), 175 lb (79 kg) right-handed pitcher, he made his debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers at age 20 in 1944, his first professional season, during the manpower shortage caused by World War II. Although King would be sent to the minor leagues for seasoning after the war, he proved to be a solid member of the Brooklyn pitching staff (1944–45, 1947–48, 1951–52), winning 14 games for the 1951 Dodgers. When he finished his Major League career with the Cincinnati Redlegs in 1953, King had appeared in an even 200 games, winning 32 and losing 25 with an earned run average of 4.14.
Before becoming a Major League manager, he led several higher-level minor league clubs, including the Atlanta Crackers, Hollywood Stars, Phoenix Giants, Columbus Jets and Rochester Red Wings. He also served as the MLB pitching coach for the Reds and Pittsburgh Pirates, and roving minor league pitching instructor for the St. Louis Cardinals.
King succeeded Herman Franks as San Francisco's manager in 1969 after Franks' Giants had finished in second place in the ten-team National League for four successive seasons. In King's first year as their skipper, the Giants won 90 games, a two-game improvement over 1968. But again they were runners-up, this time in the new, six-team National League West Division, three games behind the Braves. When the 1970 Giants got off to only a 19–23 start, King was fired on May 23; San Francisco was trailing Cincinnati's "Big Red Machine" in the NL West by 12 games.
King then returned to the high minors to manage the Richmond Braves of the Triple-A International League for two seasons, followed by a stint as a special assistant to Braves' general manager Eddie Robinson from 1973 through July 23, 1974. That day, with Atlanta one game above .500, Robinson fired skipper Eddie Mathews and named King interim manager. King's Braves responded by posting a 38–25 record and won 88 games—their best performance since 1969. But King's 1975 team collapsed; it was 58–76 and 31 1⁄2 games behind the Reds on August 29, 1975, when King was replaced as manager by Connie Ryan.
He then joined the Yankees' front office in 1976 and played a number of key roles for almost 30 years—super scout, pitching coach, general manager and special advisor, in addition to managing them for the final 62 games of 1982. Replacing Gene Michael, he won 29 games and lost 33 as the defending American League champions fell to fifth place in the AL East division.
King died in his native Goldsboro at the age of 86, survived by his wife Norma, their three daughters and sons-in-law, eight grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
He was inducted in the Kinston Professional Baseball Hall of Fame in 1999.