FANS OF THE KING SHOULDN’T GET ALL shook up, but there’s been a Presley sighting down the road from Graceland. Only, this Presley favors baseball spikes over blue suede shoes, and while Elvis made hit alter hit, this one hardly gives up any at all.
Kirk Presley, 18, is Elvis’s second cousin and a can’t-miss pitching prospect from Tupelo, Miss., who recently signed with the New York Mets for a reported $960,000. The 6’3″, 195-lb. Kirk was king of the hill at Tupelo High, where he compiled a 37-1 record, with five no-hitters. “Kirk is one of those kids who comes along every 50 years,” says Tupelo coach Larry Harmon. “He consistently throws over 90 mph. Plus he’s mature and dedicated. He’s got the total package.”
Including a catchy last name. But don’t mention that to Kirk. His father. James Roy, 46, a construction-equipment store manager, recalls young Elvis coming to his mother’s house when he was little. But Kirk never met Elvis and, truth be told, prefers Garth Brooks to the King. Indeed, Elvis is something of a red flag for Kirk. His girlfriend, Katie Zander, 18, says that last spring rival Germantown High attempted to upset Kirk before a game by playing “Don’t Be Cruel” over the PA system. Kirk responded by striking out the first eight batters and hitting a homer en route to a 4-0 victory. “That showed them,” says Katie.
In contrast to his flamboyant cousin, Kirk can’t sing a lick and says he is so shy that he sits in the balcony at church because “no one can see me there.” Nor are there any pink Cadillacs in Kirk’s future. He’s used his loot for a Toyota 4-Runner. Kirk does, however, see some advantage in bearing the Presley name. “I guess it’s helped more than it’s hurt—just for the publicity,” he says, grudgingly. “I’m just glad my middle name isn’t Elvis.”