Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
If you were to look up the definition of team player in The Dickson Baseball Dictionary and it had a picture of a player that epitomizes the term, it would look like this:
Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
"A player who works with others for the benefit of the team rather than playing for his own recognition.”"
Michael Young is the only player voted for two positions – shortstop and designated hitter.
It’s a long way from where Young started but, comes as no surprise. The Californian made his major league debut with the Texas Rangers as a pinch runner September 29, 2000. He remained with the big league team for the remainder of the the season but, there were only 5 games left and Young only had two at bats.
Little did fans realize this rookie would become a marquee player for the Rangers.
Rangers fans wouldn’t get another look at Michael Young until he was called up from Oklahoma RedHawks (AAA) on May 25, 2001 as a second baseman. But it was in 2002 when his defensive skills showed.
Do you remember that clip of Kenny Rogers starting that triple in April 2002? Well, I just realized that MY was a part of that. Have another look:
Young finished the ‘02 season ranked first among American League second basemen in assists with 420 and double plays turned with 97, and ranked second in putouts with 298, total zone runs with 6 and a .988 fielding percentage. He also ranked first among AL second basemen in 2003 for double plays turned with 117 and defensive games played with 159.
By 2004 Rangers fans began to see what Michael Young was all about, the team.
With the departure of shortstop Alex Rodriguez (no tears from me!) and addition of second baseman Alfonso Soriano he moved positions for the first time, and became the Texas Rangers everyday shortstop. 2004 would also be the first of six consecutive seasons Young would be sent to the All-Star Game (2004-2009).
July 2004, MY spins, throws to first, aaaand Miguel Cabrera is out! (Said in my best broadcast voice)
In two of his All-Star Game appearances Young drove in the winning run, the first in 2006.
The second time was in the 2008 All-Star Game, which is tied with the 1967 ASG for number of innings played (15) and set a record time (4:50) for longest ASG in its history. That must have made the walk-off sacrifice fly even sweeter.
Young won the 2005 American League Batting Title with an average of .331 and led the majors in hits with 221. His defensive skills at shortstop earned him his first and only Gold Glove in 2008.
When Texas Rangers’ top prospect Elvis Andrus joined the big league team in 2009 to play shortstop, once again Young moved positions, this time to third base to accommodate the club. MY also hit his first career walk-off homer in April 2009.
On June 16, 2010 Michael Young surpassed Pudge and became Texas Rangers career leader in hits.
Here are few highlights of Michael Young in 2010:
July 23 MY hits a walk-off single after Andrus puts on the squeeze. Who says bunting never works?
I love watching rundowns because they are generally quite comical, especially when it ultimately leads the tag for an out. But this one by Young, isn’t great because of the tag. Here’s what I mean:
I share this clip from October because I love that the “good guy” robs the “bad guy” of a hit:
Next: Young Moves Positions One Last Time