Michael Young slipped on a No. 10 Texas Rangers jersey for one last time.
Young formally announced his retirement Friday after returning to Rangers Ballpark, his baseball home for all but the last of his 13 major league seasons. He called his time in Texas the best years of his life.
"I came kind of confident, and stubborn, with a lot to learn," Young said. "In a lot of ways was still immature, trying to figure out who I was, and what I wanted to do and what I wanted to be about, and I figured it all out here."
A seven-time All-Star, Young is the Rangers' career leader with 2,230 hits. The 37-year-old infielder finished as a career .300 hitter in 1,970 games for Texas, Philadelphia and the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Texas acquired Young from Toronto in July 2000, along with reliever Darwin Cubillian, for pitcher Esteban Loaiza. Young made his major league debut playing twice the final weekend of that season.
Young became a regular in the Rangers lineup after being called up in late May the next season. Texas went from being a last-place team to consecutive World Series in 2010 and 2011. He was traded last winter to Philadelphia, then to the Dodgers at the end of August before the playoffs.
Young has three young sons, ages 17 months to 8 years old, who were all born in Dallas, where he and his wife still live. Playing away from home for the first time last season was difficult for Young, even though he loved his time with the Phillies and hometown Dodgers.
"My boys are the driving reason why my playing days are done," Young said. "You've got to be there with them, you have to be there for every success, every failure. If something doesn't go right, I want them to see me first."
Had Young wanted to keep playing, he said the Dodgers made him a tempting offer that would have provided significant playing time.
No rush to return
Young definitely wants to get back in baseball at some capacity in the future, but isn't in a rush to do so.
Rangers general manager Jon Daniels, who got emotional at one point during his opening remarks, said the team certainly wants to have Young involved in some way.
"The game of baseball is going to miss you, and I certainly hope you don't stay away from the game," said Texas manager Ron Washington, describing Young as the ultimate teammate. "I don't think this game will be able to survive without a Michael Young in it."
Among the handouts Friday was a listing of all 2,375 of Young's career hits — it was almost all of 11 triple-columned pages. The first was a single at Baltimore on May 27, 2001, and the last was a double in a home game for the Dodgers against Colorado last Sept. 29.
Originally a second baseman for Texas, Young voluntarily moved to shortstop after Alex Rodriguez was traded before spring training in 2004. Young was an All-Star each of his five seasons at shortstop and won a Gold Glove in 2008.
Young switched to third base in 2009 and earned an All-Star nod at that position. He made that move when the Rangers promoted Elvis Andrus, then 20 years old and without ever playing above the Double-A level, to the big leagues.
When third baseman Adrian Beltre signed with Texas before the 2011 season, Young became a utility player. He started at five different positions, made another All-Star game, led the AL with 213 hits and was part of the team that twice in Game 6 came within a strike of winning the World Series against St. Louis.
"What sticks in my head most is the 2011, what I felt was a championship team that doesn't have a championship," he said. "It still eats at me — a lot, actually. I'm over it, but I'm not. I don't want to spend too much time thinking about it. When I do, I still get a sick feeling in my stomach."