Michael Young retirement: longtime Texas Ranger infielder Michael Young has said he is retiring.
Young ends his career with 2375 hits and a .300/.346/.441 slash line in 1970 games over 14 seasons.
Young was acquired by the Rangers in 2000 in a midseason deal that sent Esteban Loaiza to Toronto. After a cup of coffee with the Rangers that year (with just two at bats), Young came up to the majors for good during the 2001 season, and ended up transforming himself from a light hitting minor league shortstop into one of the best pure hitters in the game.
Young was a controversial figure in some ways, with some folks (myself included) believing the mainstream media gave him too much credit for his intangibles and tended to ignore the weaknesses in his game, particularly his glovework at shortstop and third base. On the other hand, there is no question that Young was one of the most respected players of his era, with both teammates and opponents going out of their way to praise him for his commitment, his leadership, and the way he played the game.
While I understand why the Rangers were at a point last season where it made sense to trade Michael Young, it also makes me sad that he ended up not spending his major league career entirely in a Ranger uniform. Splitting his final season with the Phillies and the Dodgers, putting up middling numbers and ending up at the end of the year functioning as a veteran presence off the bench for an overstuffed Los Angeles team, just feels wrong.
Young was a major presence on this team when it was floundering in the early aughts, was a major presence on this team when it was a meandering mediocrity in the middle part of the decade, and then was a major presence on this team for a great run from 2009 through 2012 that included a pair of World Series appearances. There's a reason we called him "Face"...he was, for most of his career here, the Face of the Franchise, the guy who was front and center for the Rangers in both bad times and good.
Young wasn't a great player, but he was an awfully good player for a decade or so for this organization, and was a stabilizing force for a franchise that has lacked stability since its inception.