Young learned approach from his father
Rangers third baseman views role as Major Leaguer seriously
In the 10 seasons he has spent in the Major Leagues with the Rangers, Michael Young has carved out an integral role for himself on and off the field in Texas.
Young's accomplishments in baseball speak for themselves. He is a six-time All-Star, winner of a 2008 Gold Glove Award and was the 2005 American League batting champion. Young, now one of the longest-tenured Rangers, has met his challenges along the way. A natural second baseman, Young transitioned to shortstop in 2004 and moved again to third base in 2009 to make way for Elvis Andrus. His approach to the transition and leadership of the Rangers has earned Young, the team's de-facto captain, his characterization as a hard-working, team-oriented player.
His outlook is one he learned from his father.
"I learned at an early age, if you're going to do something, you're going to take it seriously," Young said. "That's the way I feel about baseball. The second I knew this was going to be my career, it was something I wasn't going to go at half-heartedly. I was going to put everything I had into it. Whatever I could be in this game, I was going to leave it all out there, and try and become that.
"I know that when my career is over, I'll have no regrets. I'll know that I put every ounce of energy I had into this game -- and I definitely learned that from the way my dad approached his job."
To Young, being a Major Leaguer means more than just performing on the field. It's about embracing his status in the community.
"I've established a lot of roots here now," said Young, a California native and a UC-Santa Barbara alumnus. "I live in Dallas year-round. My home in California is basically for the holidays now. I'm completely entrenched in this community. I think that from a player's standpoint, yeah, we want to contribute. For me personally, I want to do a lot more. I think I'm capable of doing a lot more in the community."
Young, who made his playoff debut in the only Major League jersey he's ever known earlier this month, certainly hasn't taken his good fortune on the field, or in life in general, for granted. That's reflected through Young's actions, even if it's as simple as always interacting with young fans.
"As a baseball player, it always makes a difference when you can make an impact on a kid's day or a kid's life," Young said. "Because we were all there, we were all young kids who wanted to be Major League players. I remember being in LA thinking about how big of a deal Kirk Gibson was. So those are things that mean a lot to players, because like I said, we've all been there. We've all been a little kid who wanted the autograph, who wanted to meet the guy up close."
For Young, though, giving back to the city that's welcomed him as one of its own has become about more than signing autographs. Young and his wife, Christina, have made quite a mark in Dallas -- specifically in the area of supporting the fight against pediatric cancer. The couple's involvement with a local charity, Wipe Out Kids Cancer, has been one of Young's largest and most passionate projects.
"I can only imagine the impact [cancer] has on these families," Young said. "It's something that we were drawn to probably about seven or eight years ago. We've increased our involvement pretty much every year. We've gotten to meet some pretty special kids, their families [and] make contributions to kids who are going to be going to college. That, by far, [is what] I think my wife and I are most proud of -- our work with Wipe Out Kids Cancer."
Young's desire to help families in need is also fueled by his gratitude for his own family.
"I'm fortunate that I have a great family structure at home -- a wife and two kids," he said. "I couldn't have asked for a better situation for me to be at home with. [There's] just a very loving atmosphere [that] I have at my house. Right now, my role model is just my family. I'm very tight with my family, very private with my family. I couldn't ask for a better situation."
Bailey Stephens is a reporter for MLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.