Tagged: George Steinbrenner

Singleton grateful to Steinbrenner

steinbrennermemorial_250.jpgI can imagine how the phones are ringing off their hooks in the Yankees office after George Steinbrenner’s passing, because here in Baltimore our house phone and Ken’s cell haven’t stopped jingling yet.

Radio stations that typically call Ken during the baseball season for interviews about the game in general, double their calls when any big news breaks.
This week they want Ken’s reaction and thoughts on Mr. Steinbrenner. 

I can tell my husband feels sad and melancholy. He happened to be golfing during the All-Star break when he heard the news. Because his cell phone sounded off repeatedly on the links, he stopped after nine holes to return home, handle the calls and silently process the news.

It didn’t feel proper to continue the golf round while the Steinbrenner family grieved, along with Yankees fans everywhere.

“Mr. Steinbrenner was always good to me,” said Ken. “This is not a good week for the Yankees and their fans. We had just learned about Bob Sheppard a few days before.”

Fourteen years ago, Mr. Steinbrenner had the final say whether to hire Ken. In Steinbrenner’s Tampa office before spring training at then Legends Field, Ken and two MSG executives met with the Yankees owner.

“I don’t think our fans are going to like you,” Ken recalled Mr. Steinbrenner’s comment.

“How come?” asked Ken.

“I can’t recall all the bad things you used to do to us,” said Mr. Steinbrenner about Ken as a Baltimore Orioles right-fielder and designated hitter.

“With all due respect, Mr. Steinbrenner,” Ken responded. “I was just doing my job.”

“Well, you did it very well.”

After Ken left Tampa, he was unsure he would be offered a seat in the booth to broadcast for the Yankees. Yet the next day he received an affirmative phone call.

“I appreciate the opportunity – and every single minute I’ve been there,” Ken said. “Mr. Steinbrenner said I could work for his team even though I never played for the Yankees … probably because I am from New York.”

Ken feels grateful that even after The YES Network was established nine years ago, Steinbrenner kept him around. Over the years he hasn’t encountered the boss often because Steinbrenner was usually in Tampa. (I have never met the man.)

“I guess he liked what he heard on TV,” said Ken. “If he had had a problem with our broadcasts, I’m sure we would have heard.”

About Mr. Steinbrenner as a team owner, he said, “I have a lot of respect for the way he built the Yankees into a championship franchise. When he bought the team in 1973 they weren’t very good.”

I would venture to guess that the eight All-Star Yankees played their hearts out during the All Star game in honor of an all-star owner. It was suitable that his team was so well represented by more players than any other and fitting that he chose All-Star game day to find his way to heaven.

Rest in peace
George Steinbrenner

(Click here
to watch Ken’s conversation with Michael Kay and Jack Curry.)

Ken answers your questions





/* Style Definitions */
{mso-style-name:”Table Normal”;
mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;
mso-fareast-font-family:”Times New Roman”;

Robert A Modica: Ken, somewhere I read that the Red Sox believe
Diasuke Matsuzaka’s injury is from  being extensively used in the
baseball classic. Is there a limit in innings a pitcher can pitch,  or
is it left up to the coach on how he wishes to use them? And do you
think the players are getting in the best of shape, playing in the
classic as apposed to Spring Training. Always a Yankee!!!!!

Ken Singleton: There is no real limit to the innings a pitcher can throw. Now, as opposed to the past, there is more of an effort to protect pitchers arms by monitoring their innings. I think stressful innings the WBC as opposed to the gradual getting ready in Spring Training can cause injury. Pitchers are very competitive and may try to reach back for a little extra on a fastball when they  are not quite ready to do so.

Jerry Kohut from Woodbridge, N.J.: “How does Ken feel about the in-studio hosts using the term RBI instead of RBIs? “I have never heard any of the former player analysts say RBI unless it was one. Why do they insist on not using the plural? None of the Yankee announcers have said it. I’ve never heard Scully or Mel Allen say it when I was a kid. I grew up saying RBIs and I’ve never heard the singular use of this until a few years ago. This is a totally new phenomenon.”

Ken Singleton: “I agree with Jerry. It is RBIs; that’s the way I say it most of the time. They might do this because RBI is already plural – runs batted in. There are a lot of things in baseball that might not be quite the proper English. Jerry’s right – only recently some people started saying RBI. I don’t know why.”

Kathleen Hannan from Tarrytown, N.Y.: “Did Ken ever think about managing?”

Ken Singleton: “Others have often asked me the same question. No, I’ve never thought about it. Managing does not provide much in the way of job stability. I’ve been broadcasting for 25 years and not many managers last that long, particularly in one job.”

Chris Warbach from Poughkeepsie, N.Y.: “How did Ken hook up with YES? He was an Oriole. Why doesn’t he do Orioles games? Although I’m glad he’s with us….”

Ken Singleton: “It’s kind of a long story but the reason I don’t do Orioles game is, when the opportunity arose, they picked someone else. Basically the management from MSG wanted me to work their games. They approached George Steinbrenner and told them I’d be good. Steinbrenner wasn’t sure because I had never played for the Yankees; instead I had played for their rival.

He eventually said OK – Mr. Steinbrenner knew I was from Mount Vernon, N.Y., (born in Manhattan) and he gave a local guy a break. So I went with the Yankees and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. At first, many Yankees fans wondered how someone who never played for the team could do the games, but I’ve been doing Yankees telecasts for 13 years now, counting MSG, and they’ve forgiven me for all the bad things I did to their team.”