Mark Teixeira announced today that he will retire at the end of the season. The 36-year-old first baseman is in the last year of his 8-year, $180 million contract that he signed with the Yankees before the 2009 season.
He was a big part of the Yankees winning their 27th World Series, in 2009, and he was second in the MVP voting that season. Teixeira was the best offensive player on the Yankees that season. In six of his eight years with the Yankees he had an OPS over .800. He won the Silver Slugger award in 2004, 2005 and 2009 in addition to being the AL home run leader (39) and RBI leader (122) in 2009.
He made the All-Star team for the final time last season, which was his third All-Star selection of his career. He was also an All-Star in 2005 and 2009 as well. Teixeira’s best season statistically came in 2005 with the Rangers, which was his third season in the league, when he had a .301 average with 41 doubles, 43 homers, 144 RBI and a .575 slugging percentage.
In his career up through August 4, he has a .269 average with 400 doubles, 1,836 hits, 404 homers, 1,281 RBIs and a .511 slugging percentage. He would have had many more homers and RBIs, but he played in only 15 games in 2013 due to a strained wrist tendon.
Also, in 2014 he played in 123 games but his production was limited to only a .216 average and 62 RBIs because he injured his hamstring while trying to catch a foul ball in April. He also aggravated his wrist, that was surgically repaired in 2013, on May 31. He was an All-Star in 2015 as he had 31 homers and 79 RBIs in only 111 games due to a deep bone bruise in his leg after fouling a ball off of his leg on August 17.
He realized that after this season is the right time for him to retire but wants to do all he can to help the Yankees make the playoffs in his final season. They are 5.5 games out of a wild card spot with three teams ahead of them.
“Every kid playing little league, you dream of being a major league baseball player,” Teixeira said in his press conference on Friday. “After this season I will retire and do something else. I got to live out my dream and have more success than I could ever imagine. I want to finish this season on a high note and the team wants to finish the season on a high note.”
“I want to thank all of the Yankee fans, the greatest fans in the world,” Teixeira said. “I gave you everything I had. It wasn’t always enough, but I tried my best. I am proud to have a World Series ring with the Yankees.”
Teixeira is one of five switch hitters in MLB history with at least 400 homers, and he also has five Gold Gloves. He won an American League Gold Glove in 2005, 2006, 2009, 2010 and 2012. Even though his offense has declined the last four seasons due to injury, he has continued to be an elite defensive first baseman. He saved Yankees shortstops and third basemen from having many errors in the last few years due to his ability to catch the short-hop and other wild throws.
Teixeira played for the Texas Rangers, Atlanta Braves, Los Angeles Angels and Yankees in his career. Even though he became one of only five switch hitters to slug 400 homers this season, has hit 25 or more homers nine times and his eight seasons with 100 or more RBIs, he will likely be a little short of a Hall of Fame career. He might have been able to make it if he didn’t have his significant injuries and if he had been able to be productive for a season or two more.
Also, from his second season until his sixth season his average was never below .281, but from 2010 through 2015 his average was never above .256 (he has a .198 average this season and his average was .216 in 2014).
However, Teixeira has been one of the best first basemen of his generation and truly was an elite two-way player for most of his career. He impressively became one of the most reliable defensive first baseman in the league, starting in 2005 when he won his first Gold Glove, after not playing the position until spring training of his rookie season in 2003. That was when the Rangers had him moved from third base to first.
He finished fifth in Rookie of the Year voting in 2003 with his 26 homers and 84 RBI. Other highlights from his career include finishing seventh in the MVP voting in 2005 and hitting a walk-off homer to beat the Twins in Game 2 of the ALDS in 2009.
The Yankees have a .500 record before their game against the Indians tonight, which gives them a .500 record for a major league high 15th time.