Tagged: Hall of Fame

Mark Teixeira announced that he will retire at the end of this season when his contract ends

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Mark Teixeira – ESPN

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.

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Vote for Yogi Berra for the Presidential Medal of Freedom

Yogi Berra

Yogi Berra

Yogi Berra’s 90th birthday was yesterday, May 12. He is a a Yankee legend and an American icon. A fitting honor for his 90th birthday would be for him to get the Presidential Medal of Freedom. You can sign a petition for Barack Obama to give Lawrence Peter “Yogi” Berra the Presidential Medal of Freedom here.

“Yogi Berra should be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. A man of unimpeachable integrity and respect, he befriended the first black and Latino baseball players in Major League Baseball. He is currently an ambassador for Athlete Ally, which promotes LGBT rights in sports. Berra enlisted in the U. S. Navy during World War Il and served during the D-Day invasion. He continues to be an avid supporter of our armed forces. Berra greatly values education. While with the Yankees, he created a scholarship at Columbia University that is still active 50 years later. His namesake Museum & Learning Center serves 20,000 students annually with character education programs and teaches the values of respect, sportsmanship and inclusion that Berra has demonstrated throughout his life and career.”

He was a 15-time All-Star, three-time MVP winner and 10-time World Series champion as a player. He also caught the only perfect game in World Series history. His offensive numbers were off the charts as he had a career .285 average with 321 doubles, 2,150 hits, 358 homers and 1,430 RBIs. According to the Encyclopedia of Baseball, he is fourth among all catchers in homers, first among all catchers in RBIs and sixth in OPS. He has won the most World Series championships out of anyone in baseball history.

He has his famous “Yogisms” that have made him known in popular culture. They make more sense when you think about them more. Some of them are: 1. It’s deja vu all over again. 2. 90% of this game is half mental. 3. We made too many wrong mistakes. 4. When you come to a fork in the road … take it. 5. Nobody goes there anymore because it’s too crowded.

His legacy also extends to the Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center. “The Yogi Berra Museum & Learning Center preserves and promotes the values of social justice, respect, sportsmanship and educational excellence through inclusive, culturally diverse sports-based educational programs and exhibits. The Museum is committed to educating and inspiring all people to fulfill the values reflected in Yogi Berra’s life and accomplishments.” They provide an environment to teach social and cultural values through baseball.

Here is a detailed story in USA Today about new Yogi Berra stories that includes one about him saying that he was not sprinkling his lawn because it comes on automatically. Here is a story by Kevin Kernan in the NY Post that describes why he is the most beloved baseball player alive.

All of this information about Yogi Berra makes him deserve to get the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Berra’s World Series rings were stolen from the museum last October (he was recently give replicas by MLB), which makes him deserve this honor even more.

Starting in 1999 and throughout the 2000s, Berra would come to spring training every year and give advice while acting as mentor to many on the team. Derek Jeter as well as others became close to Berra. Nobody has anything negative to say about Yogi Berra.

Starting in 1999, Ron “Gator” Guidry, who pitched for the Yankees for 14 seasons and was an All-Star four times, would pick Berra up at his home and drive him to spring training and sometimes cook for him every year until Berra was physically unable to attend regularly a few years ago. They are different personalities but still developed a close bond.

“Gator is always there for Yogi,” Joe Girardi said. “Yogi is one place, there is Gator, making sure that he is alright if he needs anything. Yogi doesn’t necessarily always want it like that, but Gator is there for him.”

Randy Johnson spent two seasons with the Yankees and is now in the Hall of Fame along with John Smoltz, Pedro Martinez & Craig Biggio

Randy Johnson pitching for the Seattle Mariners.

Randy Johnson pitching for the Seattle Mariners.

Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz and Craig Biggio all got elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame on Tuesday afternoon after being four of the best players of the last 25 years. They were all on the ballot for the first time. In order to get inducted into the Hall of Fame one needs 75 percent of the vote and Biggio got 82.7 percent (454 votes), Smoltz got 82.9 percent (455 votes), Martinez got 91.1 percent (500 votes) and Johnson got 97.3 percent (534 votes).

Biggio, a Long Island native, had 3,060 hits, 291 homers and 414 steals in 20 seasons. He was an All-Star seven times, had a solid .281 career average, hit more than 15 homers and had 15 or more steals 12 times and is the only player in baseball history with at least 200 career games as a catcher, middle infielder and outfielder.

Johnson, Martinez and Smoltz combined to win nine Cy Young awards. Johnson, Martinez and Smoltz also became the first trio of pitchers honored by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA) in the same election. Those three were on the ballot for the first time and the trio along with Biggio will be inducted July 26 as part of the Hall’s Induction Weekend from July 24-7 in Cooperstown, N.Y.

Smoltz, who is from Detroit, joins longtime teammates Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux in the Hall of Fame as they were inducted on their first year’s of eligibility last year. That Braves rotation during the 90s that included those three pitchers is likely the only one that went on to have three pitchers go to Cooperstown.

Smoltz had remarkable longevity as he pitched for the Braves for 19 seasons and pitched his final season with the St. Louis Cardinals and Boston Red Sox. His ERA in those 20 seasons was 3.33, and four of those seasons were spent as a dominating relief pitcher/closer with the Braves. He was an All-Star six times as a starter and two times as a closer. “Smoltzie” is the only pitcher with 200 wins (213) and 100 saves (154) in MLB history.

Martinez, who is from the Dominican Republic, pitched in 18 seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Montreal Expos, Boston Red Sox, New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies. He is most remembered for his seven seasons with the Red Sox, which included a World Series championship in 2004.

He was an All-Star eight times, won the Cy Young three times and his upper 90s fastball, knee buckling curveball and changeup were almost un-hittable while being possibly the three best pitches during his era. His seven seasons from 1997-03 might be the seven best seasons by one pitcher of all-time as he had a 2.20 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, 11.3 strikeouts/9 and only 2.0 walks/9. He owned the Yankees during his time with the Red Sox. He had an outstanding 2.93 ERA even with three seasons of 3.90 or worse, was 219-100 for his career (an unheard of 119 games over .500), and had 3,154 strikeouts while only walking 760 batters.

Johnson, or the Big Unit because he was intimidating at 6-10, is from Walnut Creek, California and went to USC. He was an All-Star in 10 out of his 22 seasons after rebounding from his second season where he had an ERA of 4.82 with the Montreal Expos and Seattle Mariners.

He really came into his own in 1993, his sixth season, since his ERA was 3.24 that season and it would only be higher than that in one full season between then and 2003 when he was 39. His career ERA was 3.29, he had a remarkable 303 and 166 record, pitched 4,135.1 innings, struck out more than 300 batters five times leading to a dominating 4,875 for his career. His 4,875 strikeout total is only behind Nolan Ryan’s 5,714 in MLB history. He won the Cy Young five times, which is second only to Roger Clemens’s seven.

The Big Unit is best known for his years with the Mariners as he was named an All-Star five times in his nine seasons with Seattle, but he also pitched for the Expos, Houston Astros, Arizona Diamondbacks twice, Yankees and finished his career with the San Francisco Giants. He also had remarkable longevity since he was an All-Star during his age 40 season with the Diamondbacks and won 73 games while making 159 starts from when he was 40 until 45.

He will not be most remembered for his two years as a Yankee from 2005-06 when he was 41 and 42, but the Big Unit did win a significant amount of games during that time period. In his first season (2004), he had a solid 3.79 ERA, 17 wins, threw 225.2 innings, and had 211 strikeouts (2nd in the AL) and only 47 walks. His 5.00 ERA in 33 starts the next season was much worse but he still managed to win 17 games. (It was revealed that he was pitching that season with a herniated disc.)

The Yankees lost in the opening round of the playoffs in both of Johnson’s seasons with the team and he didn’t come close to pitching up to his Hall of Fame standards. He came to the team in January of 2005 as the Diamondbacks traded him to the Bronx for Javier Vazquez, Brad Halsey, Dioner Navarro and cash.

Randy Johnson pitching for the Yankees

Randy Johnson pitching for the Yankees

Along with finishing second in the AL in strikeouts for the Yankees when he was 41, Johnson’s two-year stint with the team might be most remembered for getting into an altercation with a Daily News photographer. On his way to his physical that would make the trade official, he got physical during a heated argument with a TV cameraman and also the NY Daily News photographer. These two incidents happened on Madison Ave. between 58th and 60th Sts. He didn’t like the increased media presence that he saw in NYC and wanted the press to get away from him.

In 2001 the Big Unit had possibly his best season as he led the National League with a 2.49 ERA, 372 strikeouts and a 1.009 WHIP. However, his blazing fastball hit a bird while approaching home plate during a spring training game that season against the San Francisco Giants. This is a moment that he will always be remembered for and will always be shown on blooper videos. Here is the video of the pitch hitting a bird and smashing it to pieces:

Legendary Yankees manager Joe Torre is now in the Hall of Fame

Joe Torre

Joe Torre

Joe Torre, who won four World Series championships (1996, 1998, 1999, 2000) in his 12 seasons (1996-2007) as the manager of the Yankees, has been unanimously selected into the Hall of Fame.

The Yankees made the playoffs in each of those 12 seasons while advancing to the World Series six times. The Yankees lost to the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 2001 World Series and to the Florida Marlins in 2003 Fall Classic. Torre will always be remembered fondly by Yankees fans partly because he led the Yankees to their first World Series victory since 1978, as well as their first dynasty since the late ’50s to early ’60s when the team won four in six years.

Torre grew up in Brooklyn and went to James Madison High in Sheepshead Bay. After high school, Torre was signed as an amateur free agent by the Milwaukee Braves. He continued to play for the Braves when they moved to Atlanta, then was eventually traded before the 1969 season to the St. Louis Cardinals after a feud with management over his salary and then after two sub-par seasons the Cardinals traded him to the Mets before the 1975 campaign where he would play his final three seasons of his career.

In his 18-year career, he played in 903 games as a catcher, 787 games as a first baseman and 515 games a a first baseman. He had an outstanding .990 fielding percentage behind the plate. Offensively, he recorded 2,342 hits, 252 homers, 1,185 runs batted in and a .297 batting average. He won the Most Valuable Player Award in 1971 when he led the NL in average, won the Gold Glove Award in 1965 and was a nine-time All-Star. This amounts to a borderline Hall of Fame career as a player.

Torre managed 14 seasons before truly making a name for himself as the manager of the New York Yankees. His only previous season before 1996 that he was a manger of a team that went to the playoffs was when his 1982 Atlanta Braves team won the their division. Other managing jobs included the Mets for five seasons and guiding the Cardinals to better records than was expected of them at the beginning of the seasons.

However, his decade plus tenure with the Yankees truly was outstanding and he proved that he could manage under pressure. The 1998 team that won 114 regular season games is recognized as one of the best overall teams in baseball’s storied history. Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada and Andy Pettitte, who are collectively known as the core four, came of age under Joe Torre’s guidance. Those four are all Yankee legends and they speak glowingly of Torre.

He handled the bullpen very well and knew when to give a reliever multiple innings or only a few batters. It certainly helped that he had Marino Rivera for the ninth inning for all but the 1996 seasons.

Joe Torre and his wife created the Joe Torre Safe at Home Foundation, which is in response to Torre being a victim of an abusive father when he was growing up. His physical abuse had been a secret for many years. He and his wife started the Foundation in 2002 to educate children about the topic of domestic abuse. The Foundation has a mission of: “educating to end the cycle of domestic violence and save lives.”

Tony La Russa and Bobby Cox were also named Hall of Famers on Monday. Below is Torre’s reaction to Meredith Marakovits, of the YES Network, on being inducted into the Hall of Fame.

The Yankees have started their big off-season the right way

Masahiro Tanaka

Masahiro Tanaka

Now that the rival Red Sox have won the World Series, the Yankees can now fully concentrate on improving their team for next season by improving their talent level to make sure they are able to reach the postseason, and rebound from not making it this season after having 21 players land on the disabled list.

The first move of significance happened today as the Yankees brought back Derek Jeter on a 1-year, $12 million contract for 2014. Hal Steinbrenner agreed to give Jeter more money because of Jeter’s reputation. Jeter, who only played 17 games last season because of three different stints on the disabled list, made $17 million last season, and will be make $5 million less this season. However, he will be making $2.5 million more than if he would have accepted the $9.5 million player option that was on the table.

If anybody deserves a pay upgrade from the player option it is Derek Jeter. He is a future Hall of Famer, has 3,316 career hits, a 13-time All-Star, has always handled himself the right way and has repeatedly come through in clutch situations. It does also make sense that he is making $5 million less than he did last season based on being another year older, he will be 40 in the middle of next season, and that he is coming off of an injury filled season. He will now be able to do his normal offseason workout routine  that he was not able to do last offseason based on fracturing his ankle in the 2012 ALCS. This could help him come close to performing like he did in the 2012 regular season.

The Yankees now need to concentrate on preventing Robinson Cano from going to a different team in free agency, as well as signing the 25-year-old Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka and Brian McCann. It would also make sense for the Yankees to offer Curtis Granderson the 1-year, $14 million qualifying offer. He might receive more money from another team, but the Yankees should want him back for that amount of money because he is great in the clubhouse and he led all of baseball in homers between the 2011 and 2012 seasons (84 homers).

According to Andrew Marchand, their top free agent targets include, Cano, Tanaka, McCann and Carlos Beltran.

If they can sign Cano to a seven-year contract for about $180-190 million then they should obviously do that. They should not go any longer than seven years because Cano will be 38 at the end of the deal, and he would definitely lose production after that. Even though he doesn’t always hustle to first, his overall power numbers and ability to make all of the plays at second base outweighs his base-running. He is coming off a season where he batted .314, hit, hit 27 homers and drove in 107 RBIs. He has shown great durability throughout has career as he has not missed more than two games in any season since 2007.

The Rangers will apparently not bid on Cano and the Dodgers have just signed a Cuban second baseman so they will not be interested. Possible teams include the Tigers, Nationals, Cubs and Orioles. The Yankees need to make sure not to bid against themselves like they did for A-Rod.

In regards to Tanaka, the Yankees need to take the risk of signing him because they will be losing Andy Pettitte to retirement and likely Hiroki Kuroda as well. Phil Hughes will not be back based on his horrible 5.19 ERA from the 2013 season. A scout has said that Tanaka is better than Yu Darvish, who has a 3.34 ERA for the Rangers in two seasons since coming over from Japan.

The posting fee would likely be $60 million, but that would not count against the salary cap. He is coming off a season in Japan where he won 24-0 with a dominating 1.27 ERA. Tanaka, who is 25, would combine with Ivan Nova and CC Sabathia to form an imposing top three in the rotation. It is important for the Yankees to add an impact pitcher and also to add one that can make up for the Kai Igawa acquisition that did not pan out.

Even though McCann has some durability issues, as he has played 102, 121 and 128 games respectively the last three years, he would be a significant signing based on his power and passion for the game. McCann, who will be 30 on February 20, has hit at least 20 homers in every season since 2008. The Yankees could be in good shape if Austin Romine plays 30-40 games as the back-up catcher.

The Yankees also need to add another third baseman, outfielder and relief pitcher. This will be an important off-season for Brian Cashman and he needs to not strike out on signings like he did last off-season.