Ken Singleton

Singleton was a consistent power hitter who topped 20 HR in five seasons, with a high of 35 in Baltimore’s 1979 AL championship year. He was in double figures in homers in all but three of his 15 seasons and hit .300 four times.

The native New Yorker started his career with the Mets, but was not given a chance to play regularly and was traded to the Expos in April 1972 with Mike Jorgenson and Tim Foli in exchange for Rusty Staub. In his first season with Montreal, Singleton had troublesome rashes that were finally traced to an allergic reaction to the Expos’ wool uniforms; the club had to order double-knit uniforms, especially for him. He had perhaps his best year, considering the circumstances, in 1973. Playing on a losing team with only one other significant power hitter, Singleton hit 23 HR with 103 RBI (fifth in the NL), 100 runs, 123 walks (one behind the league leader), and a .302 BA. After dropping off in 1974, he was traded to the Orioles with Mike Torrez for Dave McNally and two throw-ins.

With the Orioles, Singleton became a star. When he hit .328 in 1977 (third in the AL), it set the club record, as did his .438 on-base percentage (second in the AL). He also holds Oriole season marks with 118 walks in 1975 and 35 switch-hit HR in 1979. In major league history, only Singleton, Mantle, and Howard Johnson have switch-hit 35 or more HR in a season. Singleton also ranks high in most Baltimore career offensive categories, including fourth in hits, HR, RBI, and total bases. Twice with Baltimore he had 100 RBI and three times he topped 100 walks. His production dropped off after 1982, when he had muscle deterioration in his right forearm. Until then, he had had a strong throwing arm (he led the NL in assists with 20 in 1973), but that and his decreasing speed, never good even when he was young, forced him into a DH role. That confined his 1983 WS action to two pinch-hit appearances, but in one of them, in Game Four, he walked with the bases loaded to force in the tying run in the Orioles’ 5-4 victory. He had an excellent postseason in 1979, hitting .375 with two RBI and four runs in the four-game LCS and .357 with two RBI in the Orioles’ WS loss.