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Walter Earnest Young, Jr. (born February 18, 1980) is a first baseman and designated hitter who played for the Baltimore Orioles in 2005 and is currently playing for the independent Sussex Skyhawks. He is known for his large size and his ability to hit towering home runs. Young is listed at 6'5" and 322 pounds, giving him a Body Mass Index of 38.2 (over 30 is considered "obese"), the highest BMI of any major-league player in history.
Young was born in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. An accomplished high school football player, Young turned down a scholarship offer from LSU to sign with and play baseball for the Pittsburgh Pirates. He advanced steadily through the system, but before the 2004 season, the Pirates released him. He was claimed on waivers by the Orioles and assigned to their Class AA affiliate, the Bowie Baysox. Young recovered from a slow start in Bowie to set a club record with 33 home runs and appear in the Eastern League All-Star Game. In 2005, he participated in the Orioles' spring training and started the regular season with the Orioles' Class AAA affiliate, the Ottawa Lynx; he started the season by hitting 24-for-48.
Young was called up to the Orioles on September 1, 2005, after batting .286 with 13 home runs and 81 RBI at Ottawa. Since 2005 was the last year that he could be optioned to the minors without having to pass through waivers, the Orioles said upon promoting him that they would use him in September to see if he fit into their plans for 2006. Young played 15 games for the Orioles in 2005, finishing with a .303 (10 for 33) batting average, one home run, and 3 RBI. In the offseason, Young played for LaGuaria in the Venezuelan Winter League.
In January 2006, Young was designated for assignment by the Orioles, after the O's had signed first basemen/outfielders Jeff Conine and Kevin Millar. Young was then claimed off waivers by the San Diego Padres, but faced much competition for the first base job: although their regular first baseman, Ryan Klesko, started the season on the disabled list, Young did not win a spot on the major league roster out of spring training; Adrian Gonzalez became their starting first baseman instead. Young was sent to the Padres' Class AAA affiliate, the Portland Beavers, where he shared a first-base job with Paul McAnulty. He started the season in a slump; and although he hit his second and third home runs for the Beavers on April 23, 2006, the Padres released him two days later to make room for pitcher Jon Adkins, who they were sending back to Portland. On May 8, the Houston Astros signed Young and assigned him to their Class AA affiliate, the Corpus Christi Hooks, where he spent the rest of the season and watched Hunter Pence lead the team to a Texas League championship.
On March 29, 2007, the independent Winnipeg Goldeyes signed Young. Young spent the full 2007 season with the Goldeyes, batting .313 with 21 home runs, 78 RBI, and two stolen bases. The Goldeyes exercised Young's 2008 option following the season, but instead signed with the Sussex Skyhawks. As of July 12, 2008, Young is batting .299, with seven home runs and 38 RBI in 167 at-bats. On July 24, 2008 he was traded to the Sioux City Explorers.