ARLINGTON (CBSDFW.COM) – When you think of Texas Rangers players who have been the face of the franchise, names like Jim Sundberg, Rusty Greer, “Pudge” Rodriguez, Nolan Ryan and Fergie Jenkins jump off the page. (Yes, there are several others.) Now, you can add #10, Michael Young, to that list of Rangers legends.
Later on Friday, the Rangers have announced that Michael Young will come to the ballpark that he called home for 12 seasons. And, at the age of 37, he’s going to hang up the spikes and retire.
Young will leave the game as the Rangers all-time leader in a host of categories including games played, runs, hits, doubles, triples and total bases. When the team needed a clutch hit to drive in that crucial run, Rangers fans were hoping that #10 was the man standing in the batter’s box. It seemed like he was nearly automatic.
Young was a seven-time American League All-Star from 2004 until 2011. And he snagged a Gold Glove Award in 2008. He led the AL in batting average in 2005 (.331) and total hits in 2005 (221) and 2011 (213).
Texas got Young from the Toronto Blue Jays in a trade for pitcher Esteban Loaiza back in 2000. Young went from second base to shortstop (when Alfonso Soriano was acquired and would only play second base) to third base (when the Rangers called up Elvis Andrus) and first base (when Adrian Beltre signed with the club). There were some uneasy times during those latter transitions, but Young was the consummate professional.
When the Rangers made the playoffs and the World Series in 2010 and 2011, you couldn’t help but celebrate with Michael, who was in the middle of the pile of Texas players celebrating that chance to play in the Fall Classic. By then, he had evolved into the face of the franchise.
As a fan, the only regret I have for Young is that he won’t have a World Series ring to wear when he arrives at Rangers Ballpark in Arlingon on Friday afternoon. Those two American League championship rings will have to suffice.
And the Rangers are leaving the door open for Young to return to the club in some capacity following his retirement. “There will always be a place for the Youngs in the Texas Rangers family,” said the team in a prepared statement.
The only question right now is when Young will join the likes of Sundberg, Bell, Greer, Harrah, “Pudge,” Ryan and other famous Rangers in the team’s Hall of Fame.
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