Mike Young drove a fancy car. Don’t ask me as cars aren’t my thing. But the former Orioles outfielder came down to our DC store and looked cool. He might have been a movie star.
This wasn’t the Texas Rangers second sacker. This was Michael Darren Young from Oakland, California. He was about 25 years old when he arrived in DC to sign autographs at the Orioles store. At the time, the Orioles had put together a nice salute to the employees behind the team by putting out a video of Orioles sales representatives and such.
I mentioned it to Young that they had inadvertently left us DC employees out of the film.
He looked at me and blurted out angrily that they should take the film back and make them do it over again with us DC employees in it. I couldn’t agree more. What a cool guy, I thought.
Some players have a great career (Jim Palmer and Brooks Robinson). Some have a great season (Steve Stone). And some have a great month. And that fits the career of Mike Young.
Let’s revisit the 1985 campaign. Looking back, get this, the O’s actually had a winning season.
The Birds had quite the offense. Eddie Murray had a terrific season driving in 124 runs and hitting 31 homers. Cal Jr. hit 26 homers and drove in 110 runs.
But second on the club in round trippers was Young who hit 28 that season.
Let’s travel back to August of 1985. On the 17th of the month, Texas starter Burt Hooten didn’t have it when he took the mound at Memorial Stadium. Neither did reliever Chris Welsh. The O’s batted around in the third inning to chase Hooten. Floyd Rayford doubled and singled in the inning. Young just batted once and ripped a two-run single. In the fourth, Ripken and Murray were on base when Young unloaded his 20th homer of the season. In those two at-bats Young drove in five runs. That came four days later after he cracked a pair of homers and drove in three more runs against the Indians.
Young was officially scorching hot in the summer of 85. At the time, he set the O’s record for most RBIs in a month (32).
Sometimes it’s fun to see how players do against certain pitchers. I doubt Young had much pleasure in facing former Orioles hurler Doyle Alexander. He was officially 0-14. In better news, like former O’s third sacker Doug DeCinces, Young ate up the pitching of Yankees ace Ron Guidry. Young was a .500 hitter off Guidry’s pitching in 18 trips to the plate.
I guess most folks consider Young’s career a disappointment. He had great power but struck out too much. He was a career .247 hitter with 72 lifetime homers. And what was that memorable deal that sent Young to Philadelphia in the spring of 1988? In return for his services, we received Rick Schu, Jeff Stone and Keith Hughes. Those three players combined for 6 homers in an Orioles uniform.
So thanks Mike for coming to our store and setting the record straight. Hope you made it back to Baltimore in your fancy car.