Young's Rangers career lauded by teammates

Young's Rangers career lauded by teammates

ARLINGTON -- A weekend full of celebrations honoring former Rangers infielder Michael Young began Friday morning with the Rangers Hall of Fame Luncheon at the Arlington Convention Center.

Young became the the 20th member inducted into the Rangers Hall of Fame in a ceremony before Saturday night's game against the Royals at Globe Life Park. Young spent 12 of his 14 seasons in the Majors with Texas, making seven All-Star teams and playing in both of Texas' World Series appearances in 2010 and '11. Rangers Hall of Famers Jeff Russell, Ivan Rodriguez and Tom Schieffer were in attendance for the event.

"It's a blessing for the player for the fans to see every version that you have to offer," Young said. "It's easy to go out there in your younger years, sign as a free agent in your prime years somewhere else and bounce around at the end. These people got to see everything I had to offer, and that means a lot to me."

Proceeds from the luncheon benefited the Texas Rangers Baseball Foundation. Before it started, Young got a pleasant surprise when Mark DeRosa, one of his best friends, made an appearance. DeRosa played with the Rangers from 2005-06.

"It was well-chronicled while I was here, I followed him around like a puppy dog. I would watch him hit in the cage and be, 'Why can't I hit like that?'" DeRosa said. "I think what he did off the field is what set him apart. His preparation toward the craft was unmatched."

The event began with a roundtable discussion with Young's former teammates, Kevin Mench, David Murphy, Darren Oliver and DeRosa, who shared some of their favorite memories of him. Then current Rangers Adrian Beltre and Elvis Andrus gave their thoughts before Young joined Rangers Ford C. Frick Award-winning radio play-by-play broadcaster Eric Nadel in a question-and-answer session.

"He's the the type of guy, player and personality that you want to build your team around, and that's what the Rangers did," Murphy said. "That was a huge reason why we were successful through 2009-12."

"He wasn't flashy, he was just about doing his business. He had fun doing it, and he led by example," Mench said. "You could see the way he carried himself, on and off the field, and it rubbed off on everyone else."

Young retired after the 2013 season, then began working as a special assistant to general manager Jon Daniels. His leadership role with the team began long before he joined the front office, though.

"During my first year, I'd follow him and watch him play. If he swung at the first pitch in an at-bat, I'd swing at the first pitch," said Andrus, who debuted with the Rangers in 2009 at 20 years old. "I still miss him. He was our leader, the guy who talked to me when I needed support."

Ryan Posner is a reporter for MLB.com based in Texas. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.