The Washington State Penitentiary is where Eddie Feigner and his 4-man Exhibition Team practiced against the prisoners to prepare for their game against the team from Pendleton, Oregon. Eddie Feigner challenged a team from the Green Pea League of Walla Walla, claiming he could beat them accompanied by just his catcher. The opposing team allowed him to have a shortstop and first baseman as well just in case the bases were loaded and he needed to hit. The group didn't have an area to practice so they requested to play games against the men in the Washington State Penitentiary. This was their first game as a Court and Feigner pitched a perfect game. They beat the prisoners 7-0. Following this day, The King and His Court was created.
Eddie Feigner was born Myrle Vernon King on March 25, 1925 in Walla Walla, Washington. He was separated from his mother soon after his birth and was adopted by Mary King who reared him as a Seventh Day Adventist. Because Seventh Day Adventists were not permitted to play baseball, he played softball instead. He began playing softball early in his life, but all the while, supported himself by doing numerous jobs before joining the Marines in 1942. While in the Marines, Feigner suffered from nervous breakdowns and even tried to cut his wrists many times. After seeing a psychiatrist, Feigner worked to get his life back on track. He was reunited with his mother in December of 1946 and his career took off when he created The King and his Court in that same year.
Feigner threw a softball at or around about 110mph, at one point in his career reaching 114mph. He at the time could throw faster than any Major League baseball player throwing a baseball, which the fastest was 103mph. He joined a 9-man team in an early spring league in Pendleton, Oregon. Being the amazing pitcher he was and having the kind of confidence that he did, Feigner was challenged to play against one of the teams with only a catcher, a pitcher, a first baseman, and a shortstop. In order to practice before their match up, Feigner and his team got permission to play against teams in the Washington State Prison. He was able to strike out 19 batters in a perfect game against that same team from the early spring league in front of 400 fans. They won the game 7-0 and that is when Eddie Feigner named his 4-man team “The King and his Court”. The King and His Court was an unstoppable group that played but also performed for about 55 years. Feigner kept records of the group during his time playing. He documented 9,743 wins, 141,517 strikeouts, 930 no hitters, 238 perfect games, and over 1,500 shut outs. Feigner traveled a lot with his group ad they did more than beat handfuls of teams. They were well known for their tricks and exciting performances. Feigner could strike men out while blindfolded and in fact has done it over 10,000 times. He has struck men out from not only second base but center field as well. The group made large profits and received some television appearances for their performances. Many say that they were the softball equivalent of the Harlem Globetrotters.
In 2000, Eddie Feigner was inducted into the National Senior Softball Hall of Fame. That same year, Feigner suffered a stroke the day after he threw out the first pitch at the Sydney Olympics before the women’s softball competition. Feigner’s career ended that year and after he died in 2007, he was inducted into the State of Washington Sports Hall of Fame. Feigner is also a member of the Shrine of Eternals alongside players like Roberto Clemente, Jackie Robinson, Vin Scully, Satchel Paige, and others. Although Eddie Feigner is not well known because of the sport that he played, he was the greatest at what he did and was an important part of the performance history of sports.