The 40 Greatest Orioles of All-Time - No. 10 - Ken Singleton

10. Ken Singleton, OF/DH (1975-1984)

All Star: 1977, 1979, 1981

I'm not sure how many people would put Singleton in the top ten, but he was an outstanding hitter for the Orioles in his ten seasons with the club, and was really a tremendous hitter overall in his career, very underrated historically. I'm not saying he should be in the Hall of Fame, but he deserves recognition.

Singleton was drafted by the Mets in 1967 out of Hofstra, and made his major league debut with New York on June 24, 1970, the season after the Miracle Mets beat the Orioles in the World Series. He had a 69-game run in '70, and was a key reserve for the '71 Mets. He hit just .245 with 13 homers in 298 at-bats, but he had a .374 on-base percentage and a 119 adjusted OPS+.

The Mets traded Singleton along with Tim Foli and Mike Jorgensen to the Expos for Rusty Staub on April 5, 1972. Stabu was another good player, somewhat similar to Singleton in fact, and he gave the Mets some fine years, though not as good as he'd had with Montreal. When Staub came to the Mets, he was 28. Singleton was 25 and ready to blossom.

In 1972, he hit .274/.363/.410 with 14 homers, and really came of age in 1973, hitting .302/.425/.479 with 23 homers, 103 RBI, 100 runs scored, and 123 walks. After a disappointing '74 season with the Expos, he was sent to Baltimore with Mike Torrez for Dave McNally, Rich Coggins and Bill Kirkpatrick. McNally was at the end of his line, as he pitched 77 terrible innings for the Expos and had to retire. Torrez spent one season with Baltimore and won 20 games.

Singleton stayed for the rest of his career, and hit up until the end. He posted OPS+ numbers of 132, 165, 152, 156, 142, 135, 101 and 131, then retired at 37 after an awful final season where he was hitting like Mark Belanger in a bad year. Singleton's four-year run from '77-'81 was one of the best individual offensive performances in Orioles history.

In 1977, he hit .328/.438/.507 with 24 homers and 99 RBI. The next year, he hit .293/.409/.462 with 20 homers and 81 RBI. He followed those two big seasons with a couple of big-time RBI years, hitting .295/.405/.533 with 35 homers and 111 RBi in '79 and .304/.397/.485 with 24 homers and 104 RBI in 1980.

Singleton was an impact hitter, and rated by Bill James as the 18th-best right fielder in the history of the game in 2001. 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."

James also noted that when he wrote the first version of The Historical Baseball Abstract, his wife, Susan, picked the best-looking players of each decade. "She picked Ken Singleton as one of the best-looking players of the 1970s. He sent her a note, thanking her for her comments."

Singleton is now a color commentator for the Yankees on the YES Network, and despite my loathing of that team and that network, Singleton is a fine commentator. I've never read anything other than Singleton being a class act and a gentleman. Frankly, he could easily rank even higher than this. And no, I'm not sure why the man swinging the bat on the Diamond Kings card is white.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Camden Chat

You must be a member of Camden Chat to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Camden Chat. You should read them.

Join Camden Chat

You must be a member of Camden Chat to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Camden Chat. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9351_tracker