The King often speaks of these leave-takings as historical points of order, and he seems to take pride in his iron hand. "Fines usually aren't stiff enough, but in our situation they'd be too stiff, so I fire a man instead," he says. "It may be just an overnight firing, but it's still a firing. You can bet on that."
The quick dismissal is a standing joke with the team. Feigner fired the same player six times over a period of years—once after the man borrowed several hundred dollars from the team, ostensibly to buy braces for his paraplegic child. Instead he deserted the Court and blew his wad in Reno. Presto, fired—until he came back out on the road a few weeks later and rejoined the team.
Probably The King and His Court act was at its funniest when a 265-pound catcher named Bill Kehrer played for the team a few years ago. Kehrer introduced dialogue between home plate and the mound. He imitated effeminate gestures. He ad-libbed well, became a humorous and true clown and was a fine drinking companion. Once, in a Schenectady, N.Y. watering hole, Kehrer and Al Jackson, engaging in a heavy liquid bout, witlessly played ticktacktoe on the head of a bald man seated at the bar. Under the circumstances they were all set for a major brawl. Instead the bare-domed gentleman turned around and inquired, "Who's winning?'
Alas, Bill Kehrer was fired, too. On that occasion Jackson asked, "How bad was he fired?" But the portly catcher was gone for good.
Feigner insists he has fired Jackson "at least three times"—once when the two men's wives got into a scratch-and-claw, knockdown, drag-out argument in the dugout at Muncie, Ind. Feigner says he threw Lorna Jackson out of the dugout and issued an ultimatum that the first baseman keep his wife out or get out himself. The Jacksons then flew off to their home in Toronto.
Jackson's version varies somewhat. He says when The King threw out Lorna, he himself ordered her back into the dugout.
"Get her out of there!" Feigner shouted.
"You like those gold teeth in your upper plate?" Jackson shouted back.
This wonderful little exhibition of teamwork took place in front of 2,000 people sitting in the stands who must have considered it an excellent addition to the show. Jackson and his wife ended up staying, says Jackson, and The King ended the argument by simply saying, "You're the next batter.
"It's good Al forgives and forgets," says Feigner. "He really rolls with the punches and lets things slide away, just like water off a duck's back. Al Jackson is the most loyal, dedicated gentleman I've ever had on this team."