Rangers greats gather as Young's No. 10 retired

September 1st, 2019

ARLINGTON -- Ron Washington has twice been forced to miss a baseball game. The first time was in 2005 when his New Orleans home was ravaged by Hurricane Katrina.

The other was on Saturday night when he left his job as third-base coach of the Braves to be the surprise guest at ’s uniform number retirement ceremony.

The gesture meant everything to the man of the hour.

“It was awesome,” Young said. “I didn’t know what I was going to feel tonight. He missed a ballgame to be here. That dude is baseball smoke. He lives it, breathes it, eats it, drinks it, the whole deal. Knowing that, he sacrificed a lot to be here. For him to put that aside for a night to come here and show some support, that was what set this night over the edge for me.”

It was a reunion between two men who were instrumental in the most glorious period in Rangers history -- the manager who led the team on the field, and the one player who had his back every step of the way.

“I look back as a novice when I was a first-time manager here,” Washington said. “The one thing I remember most is I said, ‘Mike, I need your help. I know how to win, but I can’t get it done if I don’t have you on board.’ His answer was, ‘I’ve got your back skip.’ From that point on, things began to get better year after year.”

Washington was among many at Globe Life Park to honor Young, a seven-time All-Star and five-time Rangers Player of the Year who led Texas to two American League pennants.

Arlington Mayor Jeff Williams was there to proclaim "Michael Young Day" in the city. Rangers president of baseball operations and general manager Jon Daniels presented Young with a framed jersey of the retired No. 10, and manager Chris Woodward and former teammate Elvis Andrus presented him a life-sized, glass-enclosed batter’s box complete with home plate, real dirt and chalk lines.

Former teammates Brandon McCarthy, Jamey Wright, Ivan Rodriguez. Colby Lewis, Adrian Beltre and Darren Oliver were also in attendance. So too was former Blue Jays All-Star center fielder Vernon Wells, who was Young’s best friend when they were Minor Leaguers in Toronto's farm system.

“I watched him chow down Lucky Charms every morning,” Wells said. “Literally, he had his bowl and wouldn’t come up for air.”

Washington narrated a four-minute video of Young’s many achievements, from the hits and walk-off home runs, to the postseason glory and game-winning RBI in two All-Star Games.

There were also many video tributes from other players around the game.

Said Torii Hunter, “The first game I was wondering, ‘Who is this guy?’ Fourteen years later, he was one of the best infielders I ever saw play.”

“I always admired the way you played the game and I always tried to emulate it,” said former Mets third baseman David Wright.

“One of the toughest outs in the Major Leagues,” said catcher Joe Mauer.

Added Derek Jeter, “Great player, great teammate. You were one of my favorite players to play against and watch.”

Cowboys tight end Jason Witten paid tribute to him and so did former Maverick Dirk Nowitzki, who also chided Young for being a Lakers fan.

Washington finished it off by calling Young “the ultimate teammate, a manager’s dream.”

Young was joined by his wife Cristina and his three sons Mateo, Emilio and Antonio, his parents Fred and Anna, and other members of his immediate family and in-laws.

“When I played, I thought of myself as a player who tried to prove people wrong,” Young said. “I realize I was wrong. I look back now, that my career wasn’t about proving people wrong, but about proving a lot of people right. When I think of the journey, I think of the people who sacrificed to make me better, who poured their precious time into me and made me feel loved.”

Young talked about the people who loved, respected, supported and motivated him. He thanked those who inspired him. He said none of it was possible without his family.

“Thank you for your love and support, and always being there,” Young said.

He thanked Daniels for the opportunity to play for the Rangers and then come back into the fold after retirement as a member of the front office. He thanked former owner Tom Hicks and present owner Ray Davis, and other members of the Rangers' organization.

He paid tribute to former Rangers All-Star catcher Jim Sundberg, who also wore the No. 10 uniform during his time in Arlington.

“I know when I see No. 10 up there, I am going to think of Jim,” Young said. “I will think of his fantastic playing career and his knack for making people laugh. Sunny you deserve congratulations for today as well.”

He also brought up his many teammates, especially those who were on the field with him.

“You are ugly as sin, but I still love you,” Young said. “I could talk about these guys all night. This is just another way to celebrate our brotherhood.”

He left the last for Rangers fans.

“Through everything, you were there,” Young said. “Through the losing when I first got here, you were there. From me growing up in this park, you were there. Through the best of times, when we were making October noise, you were there. Tonight, here you are again. There is no way I can repay your support and friendship throughout the years.

“My only hope is that you knew that when I played, I did the best for my teammates, for this uniform and for all of you. Thank you for everything you have given me over the years. I will always be grateful, and I will always be a Ranger.”