It may have been twelve years ago that Dmitri Young last laced up his cleats as a member of the Cincinnati Reds, but that does not mean we have forgotten about his four consecutive seasons of batting over .300 as a Red, or more importantly, his warm and generous smile.
(BOLD print will be used for myself and non-bolded for the response)
First off, everyone knows you as Dmitri “Meathook” Young; could you just tell us about who gave you that nickname and how it came about?
Well, it was back in 1999 when I was in my second year with the Reds. Karl Ravech of ESPN said it after I hit a double; but before that, I had always been “D-Train” or just “D”. Today, I just use it mostly for marketing purposes.
As a big league ballplayer, you have gotten to travel to the finest cities in our country. Was there one in particular you really enjoyed spending your time in?
Oh man, I loved going to Chicago. I would have to say to Chicago because I love food, and going out to restaurants, the whole fine dining experience. Chicago has some of the nicest restaurants, so I would have to put that at the top of my list.
Having played parts of 13 years in the bigs, you unquestionably took part in some pressure-packed games, does one stick out in your mind more than the rest?
There were a couple: my three home-run game in Detroit would be one. There was also a series when I was with Washington when we faced Minnesota and my brother, when my mother was still alive that was meaningful to me. I also had a triple in the playoffs when I was with St. Louis, but I would have to say my favorite moment was when I was with Detroit and we played Baltimore and I went 5-for-5 and passed up on the cycle. The game was tied up late and I already had the single, the triple and the home run. All I needed was a double and I would have had the cycle. I remember hitting the ball to left-center field and it got by both outfielders and I figured when I rounded second base that we needed the run, so I went on to third. Dean Palmer hit a sacrifice fly to bring me in and we went on to win 8-7. On ESPN that night, they talked about how unselfish I was for not stopping at second and settling for the double. I just figured that we needed that run for the win and I was going to third.
You have been known to be a fan of sports card collecting. How did it feel to see yourself on a card for the first time?
Oh man, I always drew myself on cards growing up as a kid. All the different ones, Fleer, Donruss Rated Rookie, Topps All-Star Rookie. I would draw myself and another random guy on there, it was just really cool to see it for the first time once it actually happened.
You played in an era where there were some dominant pitchers. Who was the toughest guy you ever had to step in and face?
Well, I’ll give you the obvious answers and then I’ll give you the truthful answer. Number 3 would for me, would be Billy Wagner. I went 0-for-9 with something like six or seven strikeouts against him. Number 2 would be Mariano Rivera; the guy chewed me up. I couldn’t do anything against him. The number one guy that got me more than anybody else, and check out these stats before I say the name, 0-for-13 with 11 strikeouts and two pop-outs to the catcher, was David Riske. I couldn’t touch him; ever. When I was in Detroit and he was in Cleveland, one time Eric Wedge came out and brought him in and he smiled at me! At that point, I walked back towards Alan Trammell and asked if I could get a pinch hitter to which he responded “Hell no!” He threw that fastball that rose and I just couldn’t hit it.
Could you just tell us a little bit about the Dmitri D. Young Foundation and your goals that you have with this program.
It’s a non-profit organization that basically serves as the bridge for kids that can’t afford to play travel ball and helps them pay for it. It’s something that I enjoy doing.
Finally, your brother Delmon also had himself a nice Major League career. Between you two, who would be able to go deep more often in a Home Run Derby?
Him. First off, I’m not the size I used to be with controlling the diabetes. He has more power, I’ll say that, but if anyone wants to know who the better Young is, check the stats when he’s done with his thirteenth year and then we’ll know. *Laughs* If not, hopefully he saves it up for some other family member to get their share.
We would publicly like to thank Dmitri for taking the time to speak with us and wish him the best in everything he does in the future, especially, his foundation. You can follow Dmitri on Twitter @DaMeathookYoung