Saturday, February 18, 2006

February 18th, 1980

Walter Young Born

Walter Young made his debut last season for the Orioles, appearing in fourteen games and hitting .303 in the cup of coffee, not enough to convince the Orioles to keep him as he was released and replaced by new signing Kevin Millar. Given full playing time, Young probably could've performed about as well as Millar, but then the Orioles aren't really known for their brilliant team construction lately. Young meanwhile has ended up with the Padres where he probably won't see much time so his chance of becoming a Major League regular is pretty slight.

And that's a shame because Walter Young is one of the most compelling players to watch because he's just huge, an absolute mountain of a man. Young is listed on the Padres' roster as being 6'5" 320 but even that doesn't really give you a sense of the man. Squeezed into a baseball uniform he looks almost comically large--not fat, just large--especially when manning first base. Watching an O's-Yankees' game last year, one of my friends reflected that when Young was holding Gary Sheffield (listed at 6', 215) on first, Sheffield looked like he had been taken out from inside Young like one of the Russian nesting dolls. Young also has the kind of mobility and foot speed one associates with someone that size, he's the latest in a long-line to play first base with the "three-foot dive and a cloud of dust" style of defense.

As I said, Young is unlikely to see much time with the Friars this year, but if you happen to catch the beginner of a Padres' game, check the line-ups, if Big Walter Young is in there, it's worth staying to watch.

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