George Steinbrenner once told me that if there was ever a player that should have been a Yankee it was Ken Singleton, who at the time, was playing for the Baltimore Orioles.
One time, the Boss was walking out of Yankee Stadium and ran into Ken’s parents. He was so impressed by them that he told his team president, Al Rosen, of their meeting and that Singleton should someday be a Yankee. Let’s not forget that, at the time, the Yankees had Reggie Jackson, Lou Piniella and many others and a trade could never be made.
What the Boss felt about Ken Singleton is what many have felt about this terrific person throughout his career in the Major Leagues, both as a player and a broadcaster.
Ken has always treated everyone the same. Whether he was talking to a star or just some guy in the street that just wanted to shake Kenny’s hand. Just recently, I got a call from my Toyota car dealer, Gary, who told me that Ken was in his shop. I asked him if he charged him and he laughed and said, “Ken was so nice that I couldn’t.” I laughed and said,” I’m not surprised.”
I heard that Ken Singleton was going to retire after this season so I walked up to the broadcast booth and said, “Say it ain’t so Ken, say it ain’t so.”
Unfortunately, it is “so.” Ken Singleton, a true baseball jewel, is leaving the great game of baseball after this season.
I took a deep breath and took a picture of the consummate professional in action and then just said, “Thanks.” I don’t think Ken knew why I was saying thanks but that’s ok because I’m just happy that the Boss was always right about people’s character and he sure was right about Ken.
Even though Singleton never played for the Yankees, I can guarantee you that in the Boss’s heart, Ken was one.
I guess it’s no coincidence that Ken was in the Yankees’ broadcast booth for so long.
Have a good life my friend, you’ve earned it!