Talkin’ Baseball With Ken Singleton

By Tony McClean
Updated: September 20, 2005

BRONX, NY.—After having a 15-year Major League career that began in the Big Apple, YES Network broadcaster Ken Singleton has come full circle.

A Manhattan native who was raised in Mount Vernon, the former Met, Expo, and Oriole outfielder is in the middle of his seventh season as an analyst and play-by-play announcer for the Yankees.

The soft-spoken Singleton also stands out as one of the small list of ex-players of color that announces or analyzes games for a Major League club.

With exception of Joe Morgan and Dave Justice for ESPN, the only other ex-players of color in the booth are Darrin Jackson (White Sox/WGN) and Rod Allen (Tigers), who both do local broadcasts for Fox Sports Net.

Paul Olden, who ironically served as a Yankee radio/TV broadcaster two years before Singleton’s arrival in 1997, serves as the lone African-American radio play-by-play person in the majors (Devil Rays).

Singleton feels that there are several ex-players of color that are qualified to step in the booth. “I would think that people would love to hear what a Barry Bonds thinks.” Singleton added.

“I was very glad to watch Dave Justice doing a late game for ESPN recently. I followed his career as a young ballplayer and always felt he had the potential and ability to do the job that I do.”

PLAYING CAREER Singleton was a consistent power hitter who topped 20 HR in five seasons, with a high of 35 in Baltimore’s 1979 AL championship year. He was in double figures in homers in all but three of his 15 seasons and hit .300 four times.

The native New Yorker started his career with the Mets in 1970, but was not given a chance to play regularly and was traded to the Expos in April 1972.

He had perhaps his best year in 1973. Playing on a losing team with only one other significant power hitter, Singleton hit 23 HR with 103 RBI (fifth in the NL), 100 runs, 123 walks (one behind the league leader), and a .302 BA.

After three productive seasons in the Great White North, Singleton to the Orioles in 1974. While playing in Baltimore, he played in three All-Star Games (1977, 1979, and 1981) and two World Series, including the O’s World Championship squad of 1983.

While this season hasn’t been a great one for Oriole fans on the field, there’s still cause for some celebration among Baltimore’s baseball fans.

The team is celebrating the 20th anniversary of the ’83 World Champs in June and induction of Eddie Murray to Baseball’s Hall of Fame in August.

Singleton remains close to his ex-teammates and is very happy to see Murray take his place at Cooperstown. “I know he didn’t get along with the press well, but he let his bat do all the talking,” Singleton added.

“He was the best clutch hitter I ever played with and this honor is well deserved. His statistics speak for themselves. During most of those years in Baltimore, I batted third and he was fourth. So I definitely appreciated having him hitting behind me.”