Former D-backs OF graduates from ASU

Young resides in Arizona, where he played 7 of his 13 MLB seasons

January 22nd, 2022

PHOENIX -- After each of his two seasons of Rookie ball in 2002 and '03, Chris Young worked on getting his college degree at Houston Baptist University.

"I went to school both of those offseasons because it's like, 'Hey, I'm going to have this backup plan in case [baseball] doesn't work out,'" Young said.

Baseball, though, did work out for Young. The now 38-year-old put together a 13-year big league career with seven of those seasons coming as a standout outfielder for the Arizona Diamondbacks.

After spending the 2018 season with the Angels, Young went unsigned, and in the summer of 2019, he decided it was time to work again on getting his college degree. This time it wasn't for a backup plan, it was so that he could be as prepared as possible for the next stage of his life.

"I'm very thankful I was able to play 13 years, but when you have that type of success, I think it almost tricks you into assuming that you'll just be successful in anything that you do," Young said. "And you see a lot of guys who are just going to start a business or 'I'm just going to throw myself into this and I'll be fine because I'm competitive.' I think that's when your ego gets in the way."

Education had long been stressed by his parents, and as a result, Young took his academics in high school seriously.

Now the father of two daughters, Amaia and Zoelle, Young wanted to set an example for them of how important education is.

Living in Arizona at the time of his retirement from baseball, Young checked in to various options for his schooling before deciding on a business administration degree from Arizona State University.

"It's highly respected in the business world, as far as the online degree, because the demands of the online student were literally the same as the students that were going to campus," Young said.

Young wasn't interested in just checking the box of having a college degree, but rather he wanted to be challenged and learn things that would help him in whatever he decided to do next with his life.

"I was already in the business world from different opportunities I had when I was playing," Young said. "And now I just need to fine-tune some of that, some of those skills, and gain as much knowledge as possible. So I went in with the goal, to learn, which actually made it more enjoyable for me. I wasn't just trying to get through it. I was actually trying to take something from every class. As I'm taking the class asking myself, 'How can I apply this to my real world? How can I apply this to my life?' And that made it, honestly, a great experience for me."

Young learned time-management skills during his playing days, and they came in handy as he juggled being a husband and father of two as well as a contributor to MLB Network.

Family time was most important to Young, so he would wake up at 4:30 most mornings and take care of any schoolwork he had so that the rest of the day could be spent with his kids or doing what he needed for MLB Network.

Young's wife, Kristin, deserves a lot of credit because she took care of the kids when his school schedule required him to be busy during the day. As a result, he was able to take full loads each semester, as well as summer school, and complete his degree last month, 2 1/2 years after he started.

It's a path that he hopes other retired players will follow.

"Hopefully I can get an opportunity to be some type of ambassador to help those who want to go back to school, but just don't know exactly how to go about it or how to manage their time or what to expect," Young said. "And help them kind of go the same path if that's something that they're looking for. I think a lot of people in baseball when they're done, they don't really know what to do, and just going back to school and seeing what interests you can open up so many doors to new opportunities that could have something to do with baseball, or could be something completely different."