Look out! A Ken Singleton appreciation post is incoming.
For as long as I can remember, Singleton has been a part of the Yankees’ television broadcasts, whether it be with MSG or the YES Network. That long and enjoyable stretch of hearing Singleton’s melodious voice break down baseball games will come to an end after this season, as he announced his pending retirement earlier this week.
Over two decades of excellent analysis and colorful broadcasting will wrap up in October. Singleton has consistently been among the best voices in the booth. His highlights range from his smooth storytelling style to his signature hooks: “Called, strike three!” and “This one is gone!”
For Singleton, this one will be gone before we know it, so it’s worth looking back on some of the most memorable Yankee moments when he was behind the microphone.
In recent Yankees’ memory, brawls seemed to follow Singleton around. He was providing color commentary for the biggest scrums in the past two decades. His reactions to both of them only made the feuds more memorable.
There was last season’s battle with the Tigers, when Singleton’s reaction to Austin Romine and Miguel Cabrera duking it out at home plate set the tone for a wild 10 minutes. He may as well have played a Bruce Buffer role before a heavyweight clash:
Plus, who could forget the epic 1998 brawl with the Orioles, when Singleton beautifully carried us through all the chaos.
“Uh, oh, Graeme Lloyd!”
While on the subject of brawls, one of Singleton’s most emphatic “Look out!” calls occurred in 2010 at Yankee Stadium, when the Bombers were beating up on Fausto Carmona and the Indians. After Carmona plunked Mark Teixeira, the benches cleared while Singleton let the audience know what he thought of the right-hander. It was a pleasure to listen to a broadcaster say what the entire audience was already thinking.
Singleton was probably sick of watching Yankees get plunked at this point. Carmona’s antics came in the middle of a stretch where eight Yankees batters were hit by a pitch over a five game period.
August 2000: Bernie Williams and David Justice go back-to-back
Singleton provided the color again for this epic finish down the stretch of the 2000 regular season, when the Yankees limped their way into the postseason. He also delivered the broadcast with some foreshadowing, as well, heading into the bottom of the ninth inning.
As Singleton said when Williams stepped into the box, “It’s never a bad thing to have a power hitter leading off an inning.” Small-ball fanatics may have balked at the statement, at least until Williams and Justice ended the game with two swings of the bat. Touché. Singleton.
This one is gone!
There’s beauty in simplicity, and Singleton is a shining example when he handles play-by-play duties for the Yankees. His signature home run call — “This one is gone!” — doesn’t try to be too much or hijack the moment, instead enhancing the excitement.
There are plenty of examples we could use to reflect on Singleton’s patented home run call, but a particularly special one was in the summer of 2015. That’s when the surprising Yankees were on their way to another unbelievable comeback, courtesy of the resurgent Alex Rodriguez, whose third dinger of the night tied the game.
His call of John Ryan Murphy’s go-ahead homer in the ninth wasn’t too shabby either.
Another qualifier for this category would be Singleton’s call of Jason Giambi’s walk-off grand slam in 2002, which was one of the wildest regular season games of the millennium. Unfortunately, MLB.com and YouTube only have John Sterling’s call of the unforgettable moment.
Speaking of unforgettable moments, Singleton was in the booth for an iconic moment that will be remembered this May on the 20th anniversary of David Wells’ perfect game. While Wells will be recognized in May, we will all be celebrating Singleton throughout the entire regular season before he drops the mic for good.