ARLINGTON, Texas — Michael Young was really bummed about being traded to the Texas Rangers in the summer of 2000.
Texas became home for the kid from California, and later this summer the Rangers will retire the No. 10 jersey of the former seven-time All-Star infielder, who has played more games and has more hits than any player in franchise history.
“Part of me is still really trying to process this whole thing and recognize what it means,” Young said Tuesday.
Young, part of the franchise’s only two World Series teams, will be the fifth Ranger to have his number retired by the club, and the second this season.
The Rangers’ announcement came only 10 days after former third baseman Adrian Beltre’s No. 29 jersey was retired, with Young part of that ceremony. Young will be honoured Aug. 31 before a game against Seattle.
A Double-A player when he got traded from Toronto, Young’s only thoughts then had been about making the majors with the Blue Jays. His first two big league games were for Texas at the end of the 2000 season.
Young was called up for good in May 2001 to be the everyday second baseman for the Rangers, and stayed through 2012. His final season in 2013 was split between Philadelphia and the Los Angeles Dodgers.
“If the fans thought I played hard and my teammates thought I was a good teammate, I can’t really ask for anything for more,” he said. “I’d be very, very content and happy with that.”
In his franchise-record 1,823 games played, Young also set Rangers records with 2,230 hits, 1,085 runs scored, 415 doubles and 55 triples — all still stand today. He started at all four infield positions and won a Gold Glove at shortstop in 2008.
Young switched to shortstop in 2004 after Alex Rodriguez was traded, then moved to third base when 20-year-old shortstop Elvis Andrus debuted in 2009. He became a utility infielder and designated hitter when Beltre was signed in 2011.
While Young used to think about how his career might have gone had he stayed at second base, the switches allowed him to have teammates like Alfonso Soriano, Ian Kinsler, Andrus and Beltre.
“Those are all things that I really, really enjoyed in my career,” Young said. “I do think it probably took maybe a little something away from what I could have accomplished personally, but that’s all right. I’m totally fine with that.”
The 42-year-old Young returned to the Rangers as special assistant to the general manager in November 2014.
“To see who he is now, to see the impact he’s made on this organization, it’s everything that I preach and believe in,” said first-year Rangers manager Chris Woodward, who like Young is 42 and grew up in Covina, California. “Leadership at that level, the humility about him now, the humbleness, to wanting to learn.”
The other numbers retired by Texas are the No. 7 of Hall of Fame catcher Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez, the No. 26 of the late Johnny Oates, the manager for their first three AL West tiles over a four-year span in the late 1990s, and the No. 34 of Hall of Fame strikeout king Nolan Ryan. Major League Baseball retired No. 42 in 1997 to honour Jackie Robinson.
Nobody has worn No. 10 for Texas since Young’s last game there in 2012. The most notable No. 10 previously was Jim Sundberg, a six-time Gold Glove catcher for the Rangers from 1974-83.
“If someone asks me about No. 10, I’d be quick to point out Jim Sundberg’s career as well,” Young said. “I think it’s important to recognize that. He had an incredible impact on this organization as well, and if I was able to carry that torch a little bit, that’s something I’d be very proud of.”