Is It a Crime That the Rangers Have Not Retired Michael Young’s Number?

OAKLAND, CA - OCTOBER 03: Michael Young #10 of the Texas Rangers bats against the Oakland Athletics at O.co Coliseum on October 3, 2012 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - OCTOBER 03: Michael Young #10 of the Texas Rangers bats against the Oakland Athletics at O.co Coliseum on October 3, 2012 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /
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Very few players have accomplished what Michael Young has done in a Texas Rangers uniform and with Adrian Beltre getting his number retired this summer, it begs the question, is it a crime that the Rangers have not retiredYoung’s number?

When you think of the Texas Rangers during the 2000s, you think of guys like Alex Rodriguez and Ivan Rodriguez leading the team in the early 2000s, with Ian Kinsler and Michael Young in the late 2000s. But there is one guy who connects the two era’s together-Michael Young.

Michael Young was the face of the Texas Rangers when the team needed one, and was the team’s leader before he left, and Beltre took over the role. He was one of the team’s key leaders when they made back-to-back World Series appearances, and even has a role in the front office today. Young was the team’s true franchise player in the 2000s. He never caused a scene, he just went about his business, racking up hits, and making All-Star games in the process.

Michael Young’s Ranger career spanned from a 2 game stint in 2000 until he was traded in 2012. Through that time, he put together 2,230 hits, 177 HR’s, 984 RBI’s, 7 All-Star Appearances, 5 straight seasons hitting over .300, a Gold Glove, and a Batting Title.

He had great numbers, and, unfortunately for him, failed to stay on the voter’s ballot for Hall of Fame. His stats are very similar to those of the recently-retired Joe Mauer, who will likely make it into the Hall of Fame.

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It’s quite surprising that Young fell off the ballot so quickly, considering he was one of the greatest hitters of his generation, and he is only one of 18 players in baseball history to have 5 straight seasons of 200+ hits.

Maybe it was because of the lack longevity to his career, or how clogged up the Hall of Fame ballots have become, or, perhaps, the fact that he wore a “T” on his cap for the majority of his career instead of a “B” or “NY” during his prime.

With the team, he had a career offensive WAR of 38.7, which is second in team history behind only Rafael Palmeiro, and ahead of players such as Ivan Rodriguez and Adrian Beltre, with the former’s number being retired in 2017, and the latter this upcoming June. He went down as 10th in club history in batting average at .301, behind a stellar group of players, such as Beltre, Rodriguez, and Josh Hamilton. He has the most games played in club history by over 250 and is 347 games ahead of the closest active player, Elvis Andrus.

He has the most at-bats, plate appearances, runs scored, hits, total bases, singles, doubles, times on base, sacrifice flies, and triples in club history by healthy margins. He’s top 7 in home runs, top 5 in walks, top 3 in RBI’s and extra base hits, and second in runs created. By my count, those are 11 pretty important stats that Young is the club’s all-time leader in, and pretty much every other important offensive stat you will find him inside at least the top 10.

I am not arguing that the Texas Rangers should be retiring Michael Young’s number this summer instead of Adrian Beltre’s. Beltre’s #29 absolutely should be retired, but it is absolutely baffling that the man who was the heart of this team during the struggles in the 2000s, and rise to prominence in the late 2000s, early 2010s, has not yet had his number retired by the organization that he played his heart out for over a decade.

Reasons for Some Hesitation

Maybe management has a plan to let his number be the first to be retired once the new stadium is built, but hopefully, they will retire #10 sooner, rather than later. Or maybe it is because Jim Sundberg wore #10 in his day. Sundberg was a terrific defensive catcher back in his day, receiving 6 Gold Gloves, as well as catching more games in a Rangers uniform than anyone else. And according to baseballegg.com, he is the 18th best catcher of all time.

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If the Sundberg-Young dilemma is really what is keeping the Rangers from retiring #10, they should just do something Yankees-like and retire both players over the course of a weekend. They could retire Sundberg on a Friday, and Young on a Saturday, and give both of them recognition up in left field. This is for sure something that should be looked at for a cool event in the first season of the new stadium.

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