Saturday, August 31, 2019
LHP Tommy Milone vs. LHP Brock Burke
|David Fletcher - 3B||Shin-Soo Choo - RF|
|Mike Trout - CF||Danny Santana - 1B|
|Shohei Ohtani - DH||Elvis Andrus - SS|
|Justin Upton - LF||Willie Calhoun - LF|
|Albert Pujols - 1B||Rougned Odor - DH|
|Brian Goodwin - RF||Logan Forsythe - 3B|
|Luis Rengifo - 2B||Nick Solak - 2B|
|Wilfredo Tovar - SS||Scott Heineman - CF|
|Max Stassi - C||Jose Trevino - C|
Before this game, the Rangers altered franchise norms by retiring Michael Young’s No. 10. Before honoring their all-time hits leader, the team had actually been quite stingy with immortalizing their greats.
Texas retired Nolan Ryan’s No. 34 a week or so before their first ever division championship on Sept. 15, 1996. A no-brainer for the first in franchise history.
In 1997, the Rangers joined the rest of Major League Baseball in retiring Jackie Robinson’s No. 42. The last Ranger to wear the number? Marc Sagmoen.
Johnny Oates managed the squad that won the team’s first ever AL West title and had his No. 26 posthumously retired on August 5, 2005.
Despite perhaps being the most worthy of the honor in franchise history, the Rangers waited until 2017, a few weeks after Pudge Rodriguez was inducted as a first-ballot Hall of Famer, to finally retire his No. 7.
On June 8, 2019, the Rangers retired Adrian Beltre’s No. 29 as he awaits his own first-ballot induction in Cooperstown.
On August 31, 2019, the Rangers retired Michael Young’s No. 10. This differed from every other case above as Young was neither a first-ballot inner circle Hall of Famer, a future Hall of Famer at all, or even, really, statistically better than some others in franchise history who have had their jersey numbers reissued many times over.
Young was not a beloved figure who died and the franchise felt it would be best to honor his franchise-first achievements in a lasting way. Young was also not a barrier-busting legend who the entire league honors every season.
Before Young, the Rangers (probably) had an unwritten policy about number retirements that included only honoring Hall of Fame players. Jim Sundberg didn’t get his number retired (technically). Buddy Bell didn’t get his number retired. Juan Gonzalez didn’t get his number retired. Rafael Palmeiro didn’t get his number retired.
This was most evident when they waited to retire the number of the best player in franchise history by making Pudge sit around seeing his No. 7 get used for 15 years after he meaningfully played in Texas and five years after he last played at all.
This Rangers relaxed this rule first when Adrian Beltre was honored the year after his retirement following the 2018 season and it was obliterated when Young was honored weeks after receiving a total of nine Hall of Fame votes (four more than Lance Berkman!) and dropping off the ballot in his first attempt.
So why was Young an exception? He was a franchise icon in an era where not much was going on for the Rangers, holds a ton of franchise records after a long career in Texas, is considered one of the preeminent clubhouse leaders who was respected around the league, and he meant a lot to a lot of people who enjoyed the team between the playoff teams in the late ‘90s to the World Series years in the early ‘10s.
Young became a worthy addition — indeed, a policy changing one — to the elite for the Texas Rangers in a game the Rangers would rally to win after trailing 2-1 in the bottom of the ninth when Isiah Kiner-Falefa slapped a game-winning single to right field in a swat that could only be described as Youngian.