Royce Middlebrook Youngs was born on April 10th, 1897 in Shiner, Texas. The five foot eight outfielder batted left but threw right handed. He went by the name Ross Youngs but was also nicknamed "Pep". He attended the Texas Military Institute getting to the minor leagues by 1914 & then signed with the New York Giants in 1917.
He was an outstanding outfielder known for his great defense. Manager John McGraw would say "Youngs was the greatest outfielder I ever saw" & he would play for Mcgraw for ten seasons winning four straight pennants. Youngs led the league in games played four times (1919-1920/ 1922-1923). He led in assists five times (1919-1920/ 1922-1924) put outs twice (1919/1924) & errors five times as well. He was among the three best right fielders three times as well. If Gold Gloves were given out in his day he may have won one every year.
By 1918 he was a regular batting .302 (6th in the NL), the first of seven straight full seasons of hitting over the .300 mark. In 1919 he led the league in doubles (31) & would hit thirty plus doubles for four straight seasons. Also in 1919 he batted .311 (3rd best in the NL) posting a .384 on base % (4th best in the NL) with 24 stolen bases (9th best in the NL).
Youngs hitting was as steady as his defense, in 1920 he batted a career best .351 coming in second in the leagues batting race to Rogers Hornsby. He was also second in hits (204) walks (75) & in on base %. (427 % ). That year he drove in 78 runs (6th in the NL) hit six HRs (tenth in the NL) hit 14 triples (6th in the NL) scored 92 runs (5th in the NL) & was first in times on base (281).
In 1921 he was part of a Giants team that won two straight World Series beating the AL New York team in the first ever subway World Series. On the regular season he hit .327 (9th in the NL) & drove in a career high 102 runs (3rd in the NL) with 16 triples (6th in the NL) 21 stolen bases (8th in the NL) 71 walks (2nd in the NL) a .411 on base % & 24 doubles.
In the World Series he drove in four runs in the Giants 13-5 Game #3 win at the Polo Grounds. In that game he had two hits, including a bases loaded clearing triple in the 7th inning. Overall he hit .280 in the series. In 1922 he had a bigger series batting .375 (6-16) driving in two runs & scoring two runs in the Giants five game Series win. In Game #3 he had three hits & in Game #4 drove in what would turn out to be the winning run with a 5th inning single scoring Heinie Groh.
Over the next two seasons he would bat over .330 with 80 plus RBIs, on base percentages over .398% & thirty plus doubles recorded both seasons. In those two years the Giants won two more pennants but were defeated by the AL New York club in 1923 & Connie Macks Philadelphia Athletics in 1924.
In the '23 Series he hit .348 (8-24) with three RBIs overall with four hits & a HR in Game #4. In the '24 series he struggled batting just .185 (5-27) with an RBI & three runs scored.
In 1925 he enjoyed his last full season although he only batted .264 while stealing 17 bases & posting a .354 on base %.
In 1926 he was diagnosed with a kidney disorder which was known as Bright's disease which cut his career short. That season was his last as he batted .306 posting a .372 on base% in 95 games. His career ended at the young age of 29 and one can only imagine how big his career stats would have been if he continued to play. Sadly Youngs passed away the following year (1927) in San Antonio Texas at age 30.
Legacy: In 1972 the veterans comitte inducted him into the Baseball Hall of Fame at Coopestown. In his ten year career he batted .322 (50th all time) with a .388 on base % (62nd all time). He had 1491 hits with 236 doubles, 93 triples, 42 HRs 592 RBIs & 153 stolen bases in 1211 games.
In right field his 174 assists are 5th all time, his 1952 put outs are 59th all time, his 1072 games are 57th all time & 105 errors 8th all time.