On Saturday the fans get their wish, the Rangers will retire Mr. Ranger, Michael Young’s, jersey. This week we are looking back at the best moments that Michael had to offer. While those memories are stacked as high as Mt. Kilimanjaro, there’s one thing that stands out: Young’s clutch gene soared during the midsummer classic. The games that come to mind are the 2006 All-Star game at PNC Park in Pittsburgh and 2008 in the final season at Old Yankee Stadium.
2006 saw the Rangers having two players selected to the All-Star game, Michael Young and Gary Matthews Jr. Matthews was a replacement on the American League roster and ten days before the game, he robbed Mike Lamb with one of the greatest catches in Rangers history. 2006 became the third consecutive season Young made the American League All-Star roster, and he eventually appeared on seven All-Star rosters in his career.
Michael Young entered the game defensively in the fifth inning, replacing Vladimir Guerrero’s spot in the lineup. His first at-bat came in the seventh inning against Brewers’ All-Star reliever, Derrick Turnbow. Young ended the seventh with a flyball to Matt Holiday in right field.
Two innings later, the American League came into the ninth down 3-2 against one of the best closers in baseball history, Trevor Hoffman. After Jermaine Dye and Miguel Tejada grounded out, Paul Konerko singled, and Troy Glaus doubled to give MY a golden chance with the tying run ninety feet away. After Hoffman brought the count to 0-2, Trevor threw an 84 MPH slider right down the middle. In true Michael Young-fashion, he lined it to the opposite field gap to right-center and drove in Konerko and Glaus. Mariano Rivera closed the game out in the bottom of the ninth, and Michael Young was named the 2006 All-Star game MVP.
2006 wouldn’t be the only All-Star game Young came up clutch. Two years later in the Bronx, Young sent a tired baseball crowd home after nearly a five-hour marathon, ending in the fifteenth inning. 2008 still stands at the longest All-Star game in regards to the time of the game and tied for the longest midsummer classic in innings (1967). DUring that season, Young was one of four Rangers All-Stars selected (Josh Hamilton started, Ian Kinsler, Young, and Milton Bradley were reserves).
Michael finished the night going one for four with two strikeouts (one of those against Edinson Volquez). In the fifteenth inning, Young walked to the plate with the bases loaded and one out against the Phillies’ closer Brad Lidge. Lidge threw a first-pitch fastball, at 96 MPH, up and into Young. Michael was able to get the barrel and lift the baseball to right field where Brewers’ outfielder Corey Hart was waiting. Twins’ All-Star Justin Morneau busted down the third-base line and just touched the plate before the tag by Braves catcher Brian McCann. In the end, Michael Young delivered the game-winner in the midsummer classic for the second time in three years.
As someone who grew up watching the Rangers, even throughout the bad times, it brought a smile on my face when the baseball world witnessed the greatness of Michael Young. Especially for the fact that the Rangers had a lack of national television exposure in the 2000s. Though regardless if you were familiar with Young’s opposite field tendency, there’s one thing baseball fans can agree on, he was Mr. Clutch when needed to be.
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