Tha Sports Junkies 101

So Long, Mark Teixeira



Mark Teixeira set to retire this afternoon.

On Friday morning, the New York Yankees announced that a press conference would be held at 3 PM EST with Mark Teixeira.  Initially, several baseball writers including myself expected that New York would be releasing their first baseman.  Over the past few weeks, rumors have swirled that the Yankees were having internal discussions about releasing Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez.  As it turns out, the press conference is being held for Teixeira to announce that he will retire at the conclusion of the 2016 season.

With the 5th overall selection in the 2001 Amateur Draft, the Texas Rangers drafted Mark Teixeira out of Georgia Tech.  On April 1, 2003, Teixeira made his major league debut with Texas.  After blasting 38 home runs in his sophomore season, he put up the best year of his career in 2005.  In his first campaign as an all-star selection, Teixeira posted a .301 batting average with 43 home runs and 144 runs batted in, both career highs.  He also set career highs in hits and total bases.  2005 was also the first season in which Teixeira won a Gold Glove Award.  After continuing to post huge statistics with the Rangers, Teixiera was traded to the Atlanta Braves just before the trade deadline in 2007.

Texas offered Teixeira an 8 year, $140 million extension in 2007.  Along with his agent, Scott Boras, Teixeira declined the extension, leading to the trade that sent him to Atlanta.  Although the Braves failed to reach the postseason, “Tex” produced down the stretch, hitting 17 dingers in only 54 games.  Teixeira entered the 2008 campaign as a member of the Braves, but he was moved again mid-season.  The Angels made the move to acquire the 28 year-old, who batted .358 while guiding the Halos into the postseason.  Set to become a free agent following the season, Teixeira was in for a big payday.

The New York Yankees signed Mark Teixeira to an 8 year/$180 million contract.  In was a big offseason for New York; they also signed C.C. Sabathia and A.J. Burnett.  Those signings paid off as the Yankees would go on to win their 27th World Series.  Teixeira was a major contributor in 2009, hitting 39 home runs en route to his second all-star appearance.  The Yankees’ first baseman also won his third Gold Glove and Silver Slugger Awards, and he finished as the runner-up in the MVP voting.  In his first four seasons in the Bronx, Teixeira clubbed 135 home runs and added two more Gold Glove Awards.  In 2013, Teixeira had to have season-ending wrist surgery.  The Maryland native would deal with more nagging injuries in 2014.  Finally healthy again at the start of 2015, Teixeira was performing on the field.  Elected to another all-star team, “Tex” had rediscovered his power.  He had belted 31 home runs in just 111 games.  In August, Teixeira fractured part of his leg, resulting in the end of his promising season.

2016 has not been a successful year for the 36 year-old first baseman.  In 77 games, Teixeira is hitting under .200 with just 10 home runs.  He has been dealing with injuries throughout the season.  The Yankees were in the midst of a decision regarding whether or not to release the aging slugger, who is currently in the final season of his 8 year pact.  Teixeira likely realizes that he has very little left in the tank, and this is a good opportunity to retire on his terms.  As they typically do, expect the Yankees to have a send off for the switch-hitter.  In his eight years with New York, Teixeira hit 201 home runs and drove in 605 runs.

Mark Teixeira leaves behind a great legacy in Major League Baseball.  He is one of the greatest switch-hitters of all time.  The former Ranger was extremely underappreciated early on in his career, possibly due to the fact that Texas was not very competitive in his years there.  Over the course of his 14 year career, Teixeira won five Gold Glove Awards, establishing himself as one of the best defensive first baseman in recent memory.  In 2009, Teixeira captured a World Series with the Yankees.  Although he probably lacks the credentials to be a Hall of Fame inductee, Teixeira was an extremely talented ballplayer, and he deserves to be recognized for his accomplished career.