The final act of Michael Young’s storied baseball career will take place Friday in the building where he blossomed into one of the greatest players in Texas Rangers history.
Young will announce at 4 p.m. at Rangers Ballpark that he is retiring as a member of the Rangers, the club that acquired him in 2000 and employed him for the first 12 of his 13 big-league seasons.
Along the way, Young became the franchise leader in at least 10 categories and was a seven-time All-Star. He was also a two-time recipient of the Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award, bestowed upon him by fellow players for exemplary performance on the field and in the community; the 2005 American League batting champion, at .331; and winner of the 2008 AL Gold Glove at shortstop.
More important to him, though, is that he was considered one of the finest teammates by his peers and that he went about his livelihood with as much professionalism as anyone in the game.
“As far as on the field, in the clubhouse, in the dugout, off the field, he just brought so much to the table in so many aspects. That’s what made him so special,” former Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler said.
“There’s nothing you can say about him that doesn’t qualify as a great teammate. When there was a time to lead or a lesson to be learned, he did it the right way. It was never harsh or a big scene when he did things. People respected him for that. He’s just a great all-around person to have on a baseball team.”
The Rangers acquired Young and right-hander Darwin Cubillan from Toronto for righty Esteban Loaiza on July 19, 2000. Cubillan pitched in 13 games for the Rangers. Young played in 1,823 games, a franchise record.
The first came Sept. 29, 2000, as a pinch-runner at Oakland, and he got his first two career at-bats the next day. Young started 2001 at Triple A Oklahoma City before a May 25 call-up that kicked off an All-Star career.
Young, 37, retires with a career batting average of .300, 185 homers, 1,030 RBIs and zero days on the disabled list. He went to the playoffs in each of his final four seasons.
He is the Rangers’ franchise leader in games, hits (2,230), at-bats (7,399), runs (1,085), doubles (415), triples (55), totals bases (3,286), multi-hit games (651) and infield hits (209).
His final four years with the Rangers were marked by a five-year, $80 million contract, two of the three position switches he would make in his career and three straight playoff appearances.
Young eventually vacated shortstop for third base in 2009 to make room for rookie Elvis Andrus. He then moved to designated hitter before the 2011 season, after initially asking to be traded, to make room for Adrian Beltre.
“He is the example of being a pro,” manager Ron Washington said. “That’s unselfish. That’s what you try to find in every player you have on your team, a selfless attitude. He has tremendous character, and those are the kind of people you’d like have as an example.”
Young won his fifth and final Rangers Player of the Year award in that 2011 season, posting career-highs in batting average (.338) and RBIs (106). But he was traded to Philadelphia after a down 2012 season, and last year he split time between the Phillies and Dodgers.
As recently as last weekend, Young was mulling whether to return to the Los Angeles Dodgers or retire to spend more time with his wife, Cristina Barbosa, and three sons under the age of 9.
Family won out, which Young will make official Friday afternoon as a member of the Rangers.
“His reputation as a teammate is well-documented,” general manager Jon Daniels said. “But I most admire him as a husband and father. It’s no small feat to have found success professionally and still be diligently involved with his boys and Cristina.”