Young and Molitor.
Yount and Paul Molitor made me want to be a baseball player.
— September 13, 2004 Newberg
I was growing up, the Rangers were so predictably terrible every year, and
seemingly comfortable being so uncompetitive, that I cheated a bit by
mid-summer and began scanning for a second box score every day before rummaging
through the rest of the sports page. By
the mid-’80s, it was the Reds . . . . But before that, it was the Yount-Molitor
Brewers, with Coop and Simba and Gumby and Vuke and Rollie and Stormin’ Gorman.
I think there were even years that I had
a fitted Milwaukee cap, with its genius logo, and didn’t have a Ranger lid. Although Texas was always my team first and
foremost, the Brewers were a big deal to me, and remained so, at least
marginally, until the Reds pushed them aside.
— March 3, 2003 Newberg
to Scott Miller of SportsLine.com, during a roundtable discussion in
Cooperstown in the course of the weekend’s Hall of Fame festivities, several
Hall of Famers were asked to identify the young player they’d trade their
futures for. Johnny Bench chose Albert
Pujols. Lou Brock picked Miguel Cabrera.
And Paul Molitor selected Young.
— July 29, 2004 Newberg
is] going to change positions at some point. It may be this year, it may be next year, it
may be after that. It’s going to happen,
and I suspect he knows it, and understands it. There’s some merit to the Paul Molitor comp.
— November 7, 2008 Newberg
want to ask all five of you [Michael Young, Chuck Greenberg, Jake Krug, Chuck
Morgan, and Jamey Newberg] who your favorite Rangers player is. We all get emails from Jamey every couple
days that are kind of like love letters to Michael Young, so Jamey, you can
tell us who your second favorite is.
— a fan at the
February 2, 2010 Newberg Report Q&A event at Sherlock’s
The Young-Molitor comps have resurfaced this week, this time
trained on the idea that it wouldn’t be unprecedented for Young, like Molitor, to
be even better after turning 33 than he was before. (Molitor hit .298/.361/.432 in his career
until that age, and .316/.378/.466 thereafter in nearly as many games, sealing his
Hall of Fame credentials.) Young’s
numbers through age 32 (.302/.349/.449) are actually a shade better than Molitor’s
were, but it’s more about what Molitor did in the second half of his career
that Young is focused on.
“The guy is a huge motivator for me,” Young told Evan Grant
of the Dallas
Morning News. “He had a lot of success, including winning a World
Series, from the mid-point in his career until the end. He was a guy who always seemed to raise the bar. He was an animal for the last eight years of
his career. I know he’s the exception to
the rule, but it can be done. You have
to trust your approach to the game and . . . keep yourself prepared, physically
Where I hope the comparison breaks down is that while
Molitor was a Brewer for the first half of his career before splitting the
second half split evenly between Milwaukee, Toronto, and Minnesota, I’m hopeful
that Young accomplishes everything Molitor did, including winning a World
Series (in 1993, when he was the MVP runner-up in his age 36-37 season), but would
just assume it all happens here.
Young on Molitor: “I love talking hitting with him and would
talk it all day long with him, if I could. I think we are kind of the same way in the way
we approach hitting. And I hope I can
keep raising the bar for myself, too.”
The young player that Molitor singled out six years ago is
now the veteran player who looks to Molitor as motivation for the back half of his
career. Not so much the Cooperstown bullet
point as the sustained productivity. The
approach and the preparation and the adjustments. The World Series title.
The player who made me want to be a baseball player, and the
player who makes Max want to be a baseball player.
So endeth this love letter.
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(c) Jamey Newberg