Mark Teixeira: The Future Hall of Famer

Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports /

Mark Teixeira has decided to call it a career at the conclusion of the 2016 season. The 36-year-old switch-hitter will be forever remembered as an instrumental part in the Yankees winning the 2009 World Series.

This probably isn’t the way Mark Teixeira would have written his swan song to Major League Baseball; limping through his final year in the league, batting .198 with 10 home runs and 28 RBI, while playing sparingly for a fourth place team that has finally conceded to a long-awaited rebuild.

Teixeira is part of the old-guard now, a passe way of thinking for the new–New York Yankees, one that saw the organization continually sign big-ticket free agents, while trading away minor league assets, because the future was always right now.

Well, that way is no more. So as we usher in a new era of Yankees baseball, let us take a minute to appreciate the fifth pick in the first round of the 2001 draft. Coming out of Georgia Tech, Tex only spent one full season in the minor leagues before debuting with the Texas Rangers back in 2003.

Through the next 14-years, Teixeira would become only the 55th player in MLB history to crack 400 home runs, but even more impressively, will go down in baseball lore as the only first baseman to ever finish a career with 400+ HR, 1200+ RBI, 900+ walks, a .500+ SLG, and 5+ Gold Gloves.

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These numbers alone should constitute enshrinement into Cooperstown–in five years time. Need more proof as to why Tex is a first-ballot enshrinee? How about three Silver Slugger Awards to go along with his lifetime 52 WAR, three All-Star selections, and when it’s all said and done, will rank fifth all-time in home runs by a switch-hitter.

Sure, Teixeira could have probably scratched out a one-year deal with an invite to Spring Training for 2017. I mean, he did say just this past March that he hoped to play another five seasons or so. But for a consummate professional, one who knows his best ball-playing days are likely behind him, while firmly planting roots in the New York area, leaving for greener pastures wasn’t a logical option.

So for me, as a fan of big number 25, I will put Teixeria’s lingering injuries out of mind, and focus on what made him so great. Like his 2015 campaign, when he was able to recapture some of those glory days, putting a team on his back that so desperately needed it.

And as he showed Wednesday night against the Mets when the chips are down, he still has some ability to not only drive the ball out of the ballpark–but let the competitive juices flow, while not backing down from the likes of Steven Matz or Hansel Robles.

Next: Buh-bye Tanaka?

Good for you, Mark Teixeira; go out on your own terms. And thank you for being a Yankee.