Yesterday, during the New York Yankees game, long-time game caller and commenter Ken Singleton made an announcement that had fellow broadcaster Michael Kay holding back tears. He told his followers that today would be his last time broadcasting baseball. This shouldn’t have come as a big surprise because he has been hinting at it for the last few years. But, nevertheless, the news left many very sad, me included.
Kenny was one of my favorite broadcasters. I add his name to Mel Allen, Phil Rizzuto, Bobby Mercer, Al Leiter, Michael Kay, and David Cone as my most enjoyable announcers over the years. Of course, these guys had their own thing, but Kenny was always a calming force in the booth with his knowledgeable and beautiful tone to his voice. There was no “Holy Cow” or the like, just clear and understandable comments. His most familiar call was “This one is gone.”
Singleton had an outstanding baseball career. He started with the Montreal Expos, but by 1974 he was traded to the Baltimore Orioles, where he finished his career in 1984 with the Orioles. He had a lifetime batting average of .282 with an on-base percentage of .388 with 246 home runs. In his 15-year major league career, he played in 2,082 games with 2.029 hits.Â He was also an excellent defender with a .980 fielding percentage.
Immediately after retiring from active play, he became a radio broadcaster for WJZ in Baltimore. Then, for two years, he was the color commentator for the Toronto Blue Jays. After that stint, he became the color commentator for the Montreal Expos. Finally, after that, the then New York Yankee owner George Steinbrenner lured him away to work for the New York Yankees and YES Network to serve in the dual role of play-by-play announcer and color commentator along with Michael Kay for the last 25 years.
Last year Singleton wanted to retire, but Kay and producer John J. Filippelli got him to stay with a reduced schedule covering mostly Baltimore Oriole games and a few other series sprinkled in, including these last three games of the season. But as of today, it is over. Singleton thanked everyone conceivable, including the Steinbrenner family and George in particular, for letting a non-Yankee player do his thing for so many years. The New York City native is now 74 and will retire to his home in the Baltimore area with his wife Suzanne Molino Singleton and their four children.
This writer wishes him a happy and healthy retirement for himself and his family.