Yankees: YES analyst Ken Singleton celebrates his 70th birthday

Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports
Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports /

Yankees YES commentator, Ken Singleton, underrated as both a ballplayer and baseball analyst, celebrates his 70th birthday. The Yankees are fortunate to have you in their family.

The Yankees have had a number of ex-players in their broadcasts booth dating all the way back to Phil Rizzuto and Bill White on WPIX and continuing to today with David Cone, Paul O’Neill, and John Flaherty in the YES booth.

But the one specialist in the booth that is rarely mentioned as the core of the team for the past fifteen seasons is Ken Singleton, who is also celebrating his 70th birthday.

Broadcasting Yankees game is not an easy task when you consider that YES is an arm of the organization’s money making machine. While never saying it out loud, the organization expects you to be a “homer” while the fans want you to “call ’em as you see ’em. Conflicts are inevitable.

Singleton threads the fine line by being quick to point out the positive while ensuring that he is reflective and thoughtful when pointing out the negative. Low key, he rarely raises his voice level even when calling a home run. He is not John Sterling.

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He is Ken Singleton. And when Camden Chat ranked him number ten on their 40 Greatest Orioles list, more than a few eyebrows were raised.

But in The Earl of Baltimore, Terry Pluto wrote, “He will not swing at a bad pitch and every action he takes on the field has a purpose. Like his speech and his dress, Ken Singleton the ballplayer is neat, precise and fluid.”

And he has remained consistent with that as he reaches his seventh decade on this planet. Singleton’s humaneness stretches high above the game he analyzes and it is recalled in this video in which Singleton was asked to describe what it felt like to play a game on the day Thurman Munson died in a plane crash.

You don’t practice that and you don’t fake it. It’s real or it’s not.

As a ballplayer, Singleton was a three-time All-Star in 1977, 1979, and 1981. Oddly, his career began in New York but not with the Yankees. As a draftee of the New York Mets, the Mets traded Singleton along with Tim Foli and Mike Jorgensen to the Expos for Rusty Staub on April 5, 1972.

Following two pretty good seasons with the Expos, he was sent to Baltimore with Mike Torrez for Dave McNally, Rich Coggins and Bill Kirkpatrick. The bulk of his career over ten seasons was then spent with the Orioles where he settled into a reliable and consistent hitter in their lineup.

Reliable and consistent remain the two most appropriate adjectives when describing not only the character of Singleton but his contributions to the team of experts that the YES Network has assembled.

Happy 70th, Ken. Happy to still have you on board.