Fans gather at park to thank Michael Young

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Two hours before Michael Young was set to arrive at Rangers Ballpark on Friday for a news conference announcing his retirement, Tak Fujita was waiting with a homemade sign.

"I just wanted to come out and thank him in person," said Fujita, a 38-year-old pediatric dentist from Irving, Texas, who had a No. 10 Young jersey with him. "He meant so much to the Rangers. He brought a winning attitude and was always playing hard."

As Fujita waited, a group of about 15 fans showed up in hopes of seeing a glimpse of Young and maybe getting his autograph before he faced the media throng in the bowels of the ballpark.

"He played with a lot of heart," said Keith Taylor, who has followed the Rangers since the club arrived in Arlington in 1972. "That's what I appreciate most about him. He's one of the great Rangers of all time. I got to meet him at a Caravan stop a few years ago and he was very nice."

Several fans waiting near the entrance to the underground parking garage talked about meeting Young and how much it meant to them to say hello or get his autograph.

"He was always one of my favorite players," said Michael Kahlig, a 21-year-old Arlington resident. "Everything about him was right. He was a classy player. He moved positions when he was asked and was a great hitter."