As he completes another injury-riddled season with the New York Yankees, switch-hitting first baseman Mark Teixeira announced his plans to retire from baseball following the 2016 season on Friday afternoon. ESPN’s Buster Olney first reported Teixeira’s intentions to retire while FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal confirmed the news.
With tears streaming down his face, the 36-year-old Teixeira reflected on his journey from learning how to play baseball from his dad to becoming one of the greatest switch-hitters of all-time.
“Every kid playing whiffle ball in the backyard or playing Little League, you dream of being a Major League Baseball player,” said Teixeira. “After 14 years, it’s time for me to do something else. After this season I’m going to retire and do something else.”
– 404 career HR (7th among active players)
– 1,281 RBI (9th among active players)
– 5 Gold Gloves pic.twitter.com/3okybTuq0V
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) August 5, 2016
An emotional Teixeira thanked all the organizations — which include the Texas Rangers, Atlanta Braves, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, and Yankees — he’s played for over his 14-year career.
“I got to live out my dream, and had more success than I could ever imagine,” said Teixeira, who is currently fifth on the all-time list of home runs hit by a switch-hitter with 404. He swatted his 400th career home run on July 3 this year, a towering two-run shot off righty Carlos Villanueva against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park.
Dealing with a torn cartilage in his knee and other ailments have continued a four-year stretch of injuries for Teixeira. Per the New York Post, “Tex” decided to hang up the cleats during the All-Star break this year, noting that injuries have limited him and playing hurt has become
As noted by Mike Axisa of River Ave Blues, Teixeira has played in just 449 of 594 possible games (76 percent) since the start of the 2012 season. In 78 games this year, he’s batting just 0.202/0.292/0.346 with 10 long balls and 27 runs batted in.
“I’ll be a Yankee fan forever.”
— New York Yankees (@Yankees) August 5, 2016
However, Teixeira’s career will ultimately be defined his massive offensive and defensive contributions. A former fifth overall pick as a third baseman out of Georgia Institute of Technology in the 2001 amateur draft, Teixeira made his major league debut in 2003. With Hank Blalock the incumbent third baseman, Teixeira was moved to first base so the Rangers could get his bat in the lineup.
In four-and-a-half seasons in Texas, Teixeira compiled a 0.283/0.368/0.533 slash line with 153 homers and 499 RBIs. He made one All-Star team (2005) and won two Gold Gloves and two Silver Slugger awards in Arlington.
With the Rangers out of contention and Teixeira’s free agency looming, the team decided to trade him to the Braves in 2007 for a package of five players; catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, shortstop Elvis Andrus, and starting pitchers Matt Harrison, Neftalí Feliz and Beau Jones. Teixeira played in Atlanta until the 2008 trade deadline when the Braves shipped him out to the Angels for Casey Kotchman and minor league pitcher Stephen Marek.
In 54 games with the Angels, Teixeira led the team to the playoffs as hit 0.358/0.449/0.632 with 13 homers and 43 RBIs. After playing in his first postseason that year, Teixeira became a free agent, signing an eight-year, $180 million deal with the Yankees.
In his first season in New York, Teixeira led the American League in homers (39) and RBIs (122) but finished second in MVP voting to Joe Mauer. The Yankees won the 2009 World Series with Teixeira leading the way. Teixeira continued his streak of eight seasons with at least 30 HR and 100 RBI until 2012 when injuries set in.
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) August 5, 2016
Through 2011, he was one of seven major leaguers to have had at least four 30-homer, 100-RBI seasons in their first five years, along with Chuck Klein, Joe DiMaggio, Ted Williams, Ralph Kiner, Albert Pujols, and Ryan Braun (via MLB).
Teixeira will also go down as one of the best defensive first basemen in history, winning five Gold Gloves over his career, three with the Yankees.
“It’s an unbelievable blessing. It’s an unbelievable honor to put the pinstripes on every day,” said Teixeira. “I want to thank all the Yankees fans, the greatest fans in the world. I wasn’t perfect. I was far from perfect. I want to let you know I appreciate your support. I gave you everything I had. It wasn’t always enough, but I tried to my best and I’m proud to have a World Series ring with the Yankees. It’s something I’ll never forget.”
[Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images]