Walter Young (baseball)
February 18, 1980|
|Died: September 19, 2015
|September 6, 2005, for the Baltimore Orioles|
|Last MLB appearance|
|October 2, 2005, for the Baltimore Orioles|
Walter Earnest Young, Jr. (February 18, 1980 – September 19, 2015) was a professional baseball player. He played part of one season in Major League Baseball for the Baltimore Orioles in 2005 as a first baseman and designated hitter.
He was known for his large size and his ability to hit towering home runs. Young was listed at 6 feet 5 inches (1.96 m) and 322 pounds (146 kg), giving him a Body Mass Index of 38.2 (over 30 is considered "obese"). As of April 2015[update], his weight was the highest ever recorded by an active Major League Baseball player.
Young was born in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. An accomplished high school football player at Purvis High School in Purvis, Mississippi, 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.
Young was called up to the Orioles on September 1, 2005, after batting .286 with 13 home runs and 81 RBIs 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 RBIs. 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 RBIs, and two stolen bases. The Goldeyes exercised Young's 2008 option following the season, but instead he signed with the Sussex Skyhawks. Later in 2008, Young moved to the Sioux City Explorers and became an integral part leading the team to the American Association playoffs where he hit .367 with 5 home runs and 29 RBIs in only 26 games.
In January 2009, Young re-signed with Sioux City and played for the Explorers until the end of June. In July, he signed to play for the Edmonton Capitals of the Golden Baseball League. After about a month there, he was released on August 17. He began playing semi-pro baseball with his hometown Hattiesburg Black Sox in 2010.
Young, who had planned to pursue a degree in criminal justice with LSU before signing with the Pirates, joined the Forrest County Sheriff’s Department and began working as a shift sergeant at the county jail. As of 2010, he was pursuing a degree from the online University of Phoenix.
Young died on September 19, 2015 of a heart attack.
- Spencer, Lyle (February 23, 2006). "Padres get taller, Young-er". MiLB.com. Retrieved April 6, 2015.
- "BMI Classification". Global Database on Body Mass Index. World Health Organization. 2006. Retrieved July 27, 2012.
- Clair, Michael (July 25, 2014). "Dmitri Young showed up at Nationals game at half his playing weight". MLB.com. Retrieved April 6, 2015.
- winnipegsun.com – Baseball – Goldeyes reel in slugger
- Winnipeg Goldeyes Baseball Club Official Website.
- Hinton, Alan. "Whatever happened to Walter Young?", The Hattiesburg American, May 16, 2010.
- Sad news on former Oriole Walter Young