Longtime Rangers great Young retires
Former AL batting champ hangs up spikes in Arlington
ARLINGTON -- Michael Young announced his retirement as a Texas Ranger during a news conference at the Ballpark in Arlington on Friday.
Young, 37, debuted with the Rangers in 2000 and became the franchise's leader in several offensive categories, including hits and runs scored, during his 13 seasons with the club. He was traded to Philadelphia last winter and played in 126 games with the Phillies in 2013 before being traded to the Dodgers on Aug. 31. He ended his career as a pinch-hitter for the Dodgers during the National League playoffs.
The Rangers issued the following statement on Thursday night:
"The Texas Rangers want to congratulate Michael Young on his outstanding Major League career. For 12 seasons in a Rangers uniform, he was a standout performer on the field and the consummate role model in the community.
"Michael is a leader, and he demonstrated those skills every day of the season, year in and year out. We are proud to say that Michael Young is this franchise's all-time leader in games, at bats, runs, hits, doubles, triples and total bases. He excelled at multiple positions and came through in the clutch.
"When Texas advanced to postseason play in 2010 after an 11-year drought, teammates and fans everywhere were especially happy that Michael had reached the playoffs. And he was an integral performer in those Rangers' back-to-back World Series runs.
"The Rangers wish Michael, his wife, Cristina, and sons Mateo, Emilio, and Antonio the very best as they enter a new chapter in their lives. And we want them to know there will always be a place for the Youngs in the Texas Rangers family."
Young was a seven-time All-Star who won the 2005 American League batting title and was the Most Valuable Player of the 2006 All-Star Game with a game-winning two-run triple off Trevor Hoffman at PNC Park. He finished with a career average of .300 and twice led the AL in hits. He also won a Gold Glove Award for his fielding at shortstop in 2008.
Young ended 2013 14th among active players with 1,970 games played, 16th with 1,137 runs scored, eighth with 2,375 hits and 13th with 441 doubles.
Young, a native of Los Angeles, was drafted by the Blue Jays in the fifth round of the 1997 First-Year Player Draft out of the UC-Santa Barbara. On July 19, 2000, he was traded to the Rangers along with pitcher Darwin Cubillan for pitcher Esteban Loaiza.
It ranks as one of the most significant trades in Rangers history. Young, called up on the final weekend of the season, made his Major League debut on Sept. 29, 2000, as a pinch-runner in the ninth inning of a 7-5 loss to the Athletics. He was 0-for-2 the following day as the Rangers lost, 23-2, in the final game of the season.
Young started the next season in Triple-A, but was called up on May 25 when Rangers second baseman Randy Velarde went on the disabled list with a strained left hamstring muscle. On May 27, he started at second base and singled in the fifth inning off Orioles pitcher Scott Erickson. He remained in the Rangers' lineup for 12 years, spending time at all four infield positions.
Young was the Rangers' second baseman through 2003. After that season, the Rangers traded shortstop Alex Rodriguez to the Yankees for second baseman Alfonso Soriano and infielder Joaquin Arias. The trade was made just before Spring Training, and there was great uncertainty which player would move to shortstop. Young settled the issue by volunteering to move and allow a reluctant Soriano to stay at second base.
Young ended up making the All-Star team for the first time in '04 and spent five seasons as the Rangers' shortstop. He moved to third base in '09 to make room for Elvis Andrus at shortstop. Two years later, Young reluctantly agreed to relinquish third base after the Rangers signed free agent Adrian Beltre. Young spent his final two seasons with the Rangers as a designated hitter and utility infielder.
He played in 34 postseason games for the Rangers when they went to two straight World Series in 2010-11. His three-run home run in Game 2 of the 2010 AL Division Series helped carry the Rangers to a 6-0 victory over the Rays. In Game 6 of the 2011 ALCS, Young had three hits, including a home run and five RBIs, in the Rangers' 15-5 series-clinching victory over the Tigers.
The Rangers traded him after the 2012 season to the Phillies for pitchers Josh Lindblom and Lisalverto Bonilla. Young reportedly turned down offers from the Dodgers and the Brewers this offseason, opting to retire and spend more time with his family.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.