Oct. 3, 2005
ARLINGTON, Texas - Texas Rangers shortstop and former UCSB standout Michael Young hit a single in his first at-bat and walked in his second during Sunday's 7-4 loss to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim to secure the American League Batting crown, finishing the year with a .331 batting average.
The Covina, Calif. native is the first Ranger to win the batting title since Julio Franco hit .341 in 1991. He is the first ever Gaucho to win the crown.
Young was hitting .214 on May 17 and then hit better than .360 the rest of the season en route to the title.
"It means a lot," Young said. "The past month has been pretty hectic and I knew winning the batting title would be very special to me at this point of the year. It's definitely special but it has not hit me yet. I know it's something that I can carry with me for the rest of my life."
Young, who received a standing ovation from the crowd at Ameriquest field in Arlington during the third inning, also led the Major Leagues with a franchise-record 221 hits and 66 multihit games. He set a new career high with 24 home runs, surpassing his previous mark of 22, set last season. Additionally, Young is the first Rangers player and only one of 15 major league players ever to post three consecutive seasons with at least 200 hits.
At UC Santa Barbara, Young was named First Team All-Big West in 1997 after hitting .359 with 12 home runs and 55 RBI. He exploded onto the scene in 1996 and was instrumental in UCSB's berth in the NCAA Regionals, hitting .373 with 10 doubles and five home runs. Young is the last Gaucho to hit home runs in consecutive at-bats and hit for the cycle. For his career, he hit .346 with 18 home runs, 103 RBI, 28 doubles and 12 stolen bases in 126 games at UCSB.
"I couldn't be more proud of him," longtime head baseball coach Bob Brontsema said. "This has been a phenomenal year for Young, with his second All-Star appearance, breaking his own record for hits, the birth of his son and now winning the batting title. The Gaucho family loves to see his success."