Rangers recognize Young as franchise's hits leader
Michael Young got loud cheers while being recognized as the career hits leader for the Texas Rangers, and a few boos for the mention of his favorite NBA team.
In a pregame ceremony Saturday night, the Rangers presented Young with a team jersey with the No. 1,748 to signify the record number of hits, and an original painting by sports artist Vernon Wells, the father of the Toronto Blue Jays outfielder. His teammates gave him a framed Kobe Bryant jersey.
''I don't know where we would be without him, and I don't want to find out,'' general manager Jon Daniels said before unveiling the Rangers jersey.
Young got his 1,748th career hit last month, passing Ivan Rodriguez for the record of the 50-year-old franchise that was the Washington Senators before moving to Texas in 1972.
''Thank you for what you have meant to us during your career,'' team president Nolan Ryan said.
Young is the longest-tenured Rangers player, now in his 10th season and playing his third position. He debuted as a second baseman, moved to shortstop in 2004 after Alex Rodriguez was traded and switched to third base last season.
The AL West-leading Rangers delayed the start of their game against Baltimore almost 20 minutes for the ceremony to honor Young, who got the record hit in a game at Florida on June 16. Young began the day with 1,770 hits.
Young's teammates stood on the top step of the dugout and many of the Orioles also watched the ceremony before the debut for newly acquired Texas starter Cliff Lee. Young's wife and his parents were among family members who joined him on the field.
''This is really touching,'' Young said. ''I can't imagine playing anywhere else. Early in my career, we had some tough seasons. Everything is looking up right now.''
The ceremony began with video highlights of some of Young's milestone hits - including No. 1 at Baltimore on May 27, 2001, the hit on the final day of the 2005 season that clinched his AL batting title and the franchise record-breaking hit last month.
Second baseman Ian Kinsler, one of Young's best friends, made the first presentation on behalf of his teammates. Texas players gave the California native a framed No. 24 Los Angeles Lakers jersey from the NBA champions with a personalized congratulatory message from Bryant.
Kinsler had a smile on his face as he unveiled the gift, and Young could be seen mouthing ''Are you serious?'' with a grin, while getting a few boos from the Rangers fans who also cheer for the Dallas Mavericks.
About 25 minutes before the ceremony began, Young was the first Texas player out to do running and stretching in right field.
When fans first noticed Young, some started applauding. That grew into an impromptu standing ovation from those already in their seats, prompting Young to acknowledge them with a doff of his cap.