Rockies to Honor E.Y. Young

Colorado announced that former All-Star second baseman Eric Young has chosen to retire as a Colorado Rockie. They have designated Sept. 12th as the day for the fans to share in the celebration. And while he had a glorious career with the Rockies, his name will always be linked with that of Pedro Martinez as part of an extremely important moment in Dodgers lore.

The whole thing started in the 1992 Expansion Draft. Colorado took Dodgers infielder Eric Young and Red Sox second baseman Jody Reed. The Rockies, in a pre-arranged deal, traded Reed to the Dodgers for pitcher Rudy Seanez.

As a rookie, Young has played 49 games at second base and had hit .258 with a homer and 11 runs driven in. He also had stolen six bases in seven attempts.

After the 1993 season, the Dodgers, pleased with Reed's play at second bases, attempted to re-sign him. He had hit .276 and played exceptionally well, making only five errors and leading the N.L. in fielding percentage.

The Dodgers offered Reed $7.8 million for three years but he and his agent countered with an $11.25 million demand for the same three years.

Dodgers general manager Fred Claire had already lost Young, so he turned to other options, checking out Harold Reynolds of Seattle and Robby Thompson of San Francisco. But Reynolds was 33 and Thompson's agent said he would have to have $16 million to leave the Giants.

Claire then turned to Montreal, asking about Delino DeShields who was only 24 and had hit .277 and averaged 46 stolen bases for the Expos. Montreal would make the deal only if the Dodgers would let go of Ramon Martinez's younger brother Pedro.

Claire called manager Tommy Lasorda and Ralph Avila, head of baseball operations in the Dominican Republic. Claire told them they both had veto rights on the proposed trade and they both agreed it would be a good deal for the club.

The deal was made, and in Claire's words, "If Red accepts our offer, we keep Pedro. If we sign Thompson, we keep Pedro. I really didn't want to trade Pedro, whom I respect a great deal. What I wanted to do, as we looked at the 1994 season, was to fill the need at second base, to proved our team with good speed along with good defense.

"But there are no mulligans in baseball."

As a footnote to the whole story, Reed signed with Milwaukee before the 1994 season for $750,000, played one year with the Brewers, two with San Diego and one with Detroit, leaving baseball after the 1997 season.

Young was an instant hit with the Rockies, electrifying a crowd of 80.227 fans in Mile High Stadium in the opening day for the franchise by slugging a leadoff home run into the East Stands.

In commemoration of that debut, the first 5,000 fans through the gates on Sept. 12th will receive a collectible pin courtesy of FSN Rocky Mountain and Sports Column.

E.Y. played for the Dodgers (1992, 1997-99), Rockies (1993-1997), Cubs (2000-01), Brewers (2002-03), Giants (2003), Rangers (2004, 2006), and Padres (2005-06).

Young is tied for 43rd all-time with 465 stolen bases and is the Rockies all-time stolen base leader with 180. He is also listed on a number of other Colorado statistical charts.

During his career with the Dodgers he stole 112 bases and is 22nd on their all time list. He finished his career in Los Angeles with a .282 average, 13 home runs and 111 runs batted in.

E.Y. currently works as an analyst on ESPN's show "Baseball Tonight."

Young's tradition in the Rockies organization is being carried on by his son, Eric Young Jr., who played second base during the 2008 season at Tulsa (AA) and has risen to become one of the Rockies top prospects.