There are so many individual moments that set Michael Young apart in the Texas Rangers history books. He is nicknamed ‘Mr. Ranger,’ after all.
When his No. 10 uniform is retired on Saturday, surely one of the many highlights included in a pregame montage will be the single Young hit on June 16, 2010 in Miami that set him apart at the top of the Rangers’ hit leaderboard.
There’s nothing inherently special about the moment itself. In fact, one could argue that the setting was remarkably average.
Texas was playing the second of a three-game series at then-Sun Life Stadium, at that time, the cavernous home to the then-Florida Marlins. This game took place back in the glorious age when teams only played Interleague games in May and June. Florida was already on the outside of the postseason picture.
As for the hit itself? There wan’t much special about it. Just a ground ball base hit up the middle past the glove of the diving shortstop. A two-RBI base knock that gave Texas insurance run in win no. 37 of what would be 90 that season.
Jay Buente was the Marlins pitcher one the wrong end of the feat. He played parts of 2010 and 2011 and was out of baseball within three years.
First base coach Gary Pettis seemed to be more animated and aware of the accomplishment than Young was. Pettis was adamant on saving the baseball. Buente’s relay to the Rangers dugout was a errant roll that glanced off the dugout wall and had to be fielded by then-Texas hitting coach and current Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle.
Despite all that, this was the perfect encapsulation of Young’s career.
With a few exceptions, in his playing career, Young was famous for his modesty and professionalism in his time as the principal ambassador for the Rangers franchise. Year in and year out, he ranked near the top of MLB statistical categories in major offensive categories.
He won the 2005 American League batting title. He ranked 3rd in the American League in Average in 2011 and drove in 106 runs on a team that won the AL Pennant that year. He even made the final putout of the American League Championship series against Detroit.
And, yet, he so often flew under the radar.
Despite so much career accomplishment, Young was never a flashy player. So when he’s in the spotlight Saturday, don’t expect him to revel in it.
This humility and ability to succeed independent of national attention is why Young’s record-breaking 1,748th hit is exactly why the humble setting was perfect for the the most memorable moment of his long career.
Related: Young’s clutch gene comes through in the All-Star GameYoung’s clutch gene comes through in the All-Star Game
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