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Dmitri Young

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Dmitri Young

A photo of Dmitri Young.

Dmitri Dell Young (born October 11, 1973 in Vicksburg, Mississippi) is a former Major League Baseball first baseman. Currently he is the Vice President and Senior Advisor of Baseball Operations and Special Hitting and Fielding Instructor of the Oakland County Cruisers of the Frontier League. His nickname is "Da Meat Hook".

High school careerEdit

Dmitri Young attended Rio Mesa High School in Oxnard, California. As a senior, he batted .425 with 11 home runs, 31 RBI, 37 runs, and 8 doubles, and won USA Today High School All-American honors.

Minor leaguesEdit

Young was a first round draft pick (number four overall) by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 1991 June amateur draft. Although he was expected to "rocket to the majors", he rose slowly, "coasting" on his talent, and, at one point in 1995, punching a fan who had been heckling him, which earned him a suspension from the Texas League.[1] Finally, in 1996, he had a big year at Triple-A Louisville, batting .333, being chosen as a Triple-A All-Star first baseman and the St. Louis Cardinals Minor League Player of the Year. He was called up at the end of the season and played a few games with St. Louis in the majors.

Major league careerEdit

Young's first full season in the majors was with the Cardinals in 1997, in which he hit .258. After the season, he was traded to the Cincinnati Reds for Jeff Brantley. Eight days later, he was selected by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in the expansion draft, then traded back to the Reds for Mike Kelly. He had four solid years with the Reds, hitting over .300 in each year (finishing second in doubles in 1998, and hitting 21 home runs in 2001). During these years, he mostly played the outfield, but also played a substantial amount at first base.

After the 2001 season, he was traded by the Reds to the Detroit Tigers for Luis Pineda and Juan Encarnacion. In 2003, he hit .297, with 29 home runs, and 7 triples (10th in the league). He was the Tigers' lone representative at the 2003 MLB All-Star Game, although he didn't make an appearance on the field or in the batter's box.

On April 4, 2005, Young joined George Bell and Tuffy Rhodes as the only players to hit three home runs on Opening Day in Detroit's 11-2 win over the Kansas City Royals at Comerica Park—one of the more statistically difficult home run stadiums. He was also known as "D'MeatHook" and "The Big D" to Tigers fans.

Young appeared at World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE)'s Survivor Series 2005 in an interview segment with Edge and Lita. Edge made fun of the Detroit Tigers, saying that they sucked, while Young cracked jokes at Edge concerning his failures on capturing a World Title.

2003Edit

On May 6, 2003, Young went 5-5 against the Baltimore Orioles hitting two homers and two triples, and a single. When he came up to bat in the ninth, he was a double short of the cycle. Instead, he hit his second triple of the night off Buddy Groom. "It crossed my mind, but since the game was close, my individual accomplishment took a back seat," Young said. "The run is the important thing."[2]

2006 -- troubles off the fieldEdit

In 2006, Young went through a divorce, was treated for alcohol and substance abuse, and depression. He pleaded guilty to assaulting a young woman after an argument in Birmingham, Michigan.[3]

On May 17, 2006, the Detroit Free Press reported that Young faced a misdemeanor domestic violence charge, stemming from a heated argument with a young woman.[4] Young subsequently spent 30 days in the rehabilitation facility, Promises Malibu, and three weeks working out with minor league teams. On June 13, 2006, Young failed to appear for a pretrial hearing on this matter and a bench warrant was issued for his arrest.[5] Ten days later, he pleaded no contest to the domestic violence charges.

On June 30, 2006, Young revealed that he had been battling alcoholism,[6] which limited his physical fitness and kept him from appearing in all but a small fraction of Tigers games during the season. He made a statement to the press in which he asserted that he had been making progress overcoming it with the help of Alcoholics Anonymous, whose logo has been tattooed on his hand as a gesture of thanks. He returned to action on July 21, 2006, versus the Oakland Athletics, starting at designated hitter and ending the game with 2 hits and 2 RBI in the Tigers' 7-4 win. Before the game started, FSN Detroit aired a video of Young apologizing to the fans and saying how he will continue to struggle against alcohol and drugs for the rest of his life.

On September 6, 2006, with less than a month to go in their American League Championship season, the Tigers gave Young his unconditional release in a move that surprised both teammates and fans alike.

The day after Thanksgiving, "an ambulance took him to a hospital, where he endured a three-day stay in the intensive care unit as his doctors diagnosed diabetes."[3]

2007Edit

In late 2006, the Washington Nationals lost their first baseman Nick Johnson for nearly a year due to a broken leg. The following spring, the Nationals invited a number of first baseman to camp, including Young, who won the starting role. In his first game with the Nationals, opening day, he hit 2 doubles. He went on to have a sizzling first half, reaching the All-Star break batting .340, third in the league, and he was selected to his second All-Star game—the Nationals' only representative. He singled in his only at-bat with two outs in the bottom of the ninth and scored on an Alfonso Soriano home run.

Young received his Detroit Tigers 2006 American League Championship ring when the Tigers played the Nationals in an interleague series at RFK Stadium in June 2007.

On July 4, Young hit a grand slam against the visiting Chicago Cubs. It was his sixth career grand slam. He finished the year batting .320, the highest of his career, and ninth in the National League. Towards the end of the month, Young signed a two-year, $10 million extension with a vesting option.[7] Upon the season's close, Young won the Player's Choice National League Comeback Player of the Year award.[8]

2008Edit

When Dmitri showed up for spring training in 2008, the Nationals said that they were disappointed with his physical condition. Young, a diabetic, was 298 pounds at the time when he showed up for camp. Despite his 2007 season, he competed with a healed Nick Johnson for the starting first baseman role.

On March 29, 2008, the Nationals confirmed that Johnson would open the season as their starting first baseman over Young.[9] Although on June 24, 2008, the Nationals announced that Johnson would have season-ending wrist surgery and named Young as the starting first baseman. On September 17, Young was declared officially out for the season due to his diabetes.

Family lifeEdit

Dmitri's younger brother is Delmon Young, a former number one draft pick and runner-up for the 2007 American League Rookie-of-the-Year Award. He currently plays for the Minnesota Twins. He made his major league debut on August 29, 2006, exactly ten years after his older brother.

Dmitri and Delmon's father, Larry Young, 55, was a share-cropper's son from Mississippi who worked his way through school and became one of the Navy's first African American F-14 fighter pilots. He is currently a pilot for Delta Airlines.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

External linksEdit

Preceded by:
Nomar Garciaparra
NL Comeback Player of the Year
2007
Succeeded by:
Fernando Tatís

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