The greatest Texas Ranger in the team’s 40 year history will be playing the 2013 season in a Philadelphia Phillies uniform. In 13 seasons with Texas, Michael Young left his name atop almost all offense categories, including games played, at bats, hits, runs scored, 2B’s, and 3B’s. Please name me another Ranger who has turned in that kind of production for almost a decade and a half at the MLB level.
Now, the initial competition is Nolan Ryan. The Hall of Famer and current Rangers President definitely has some clout. However, the statistics don’t lie in this scenario. Two fantastic seasons while in Texas may linger in fans minds, but the body of work is nowhere near Young’s. From ages 42-46, Ryan led the league in strikeouts in both 1989 and 1990 but ended with a 3.43 ERA during his brief tenure with the club. Ryan’s name may turn heads in Texas but his stats with the team are not that impressive. After that it is Ivan Rodriguez, who, like Young, spent plenty of time in Texas. However, Pudge’s number are all just a smudge behind Young’s.
Young played in two World Series while with the club, and while he was not dubbed Mr. October, his production was par for the course with one home run and five RBI’s in 47 World Series at bats.
A Gold Glove winner at shortstop in 2008, Young has always been a plus with the glove along with being the most versatile Ranger of all time. Seeing time at 2B, SS, 3B, DH and 1B, Young has never let the unknown in the field cloud his production on the diamond. After 13 grueling summers, Young finishes with a .301 average and a 2005 batting title.
It is hard pressed to find a humble leader quite like Michael Young. A fifth round draft pick in 1997, he turned in quite the career with Texas and although it has come to a close Young’s memory shall not be forgotten. The MLB is unlike the NBA and NFL in terms of its history and emotional bond to its players. Moves like this have a greater impact on a fan base than you might think.
Young leaves Texas with plenty of awards and records. In my mind, he will also leave as the greatest Texas Ranger of all time and Ranger nation will be reminded of him every time they see the number 10.