After announcing he will retire at the end of the 2016 season we ask the question: can New York Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira earn a sacred spot in the Hall Of Fame?
No, Mark Teixeira is no Eddie Murray – his Hall Of Fame idol as a child – but the man who has manned the fort over at first base for the New York Yankees may have a legitimate bid at finding a home in Cooperstown when he hangs his cleats up once this season ends.
How can he not? Teixeira could arguably be one of the best first basemen in modern times as well as one of the best switch-hitters in baseball history since being drafted fifth overall by the Texas Rangers back in 2001.
Following his major league debut in the lone star state in 2003, he went on to hit 26 home runs while driving in 84 while finishing fifth in the American League Rookie Of The Year voting.
In hist first four full seasons in Texas, Teixeira would hit 140 home runs while maintaining a .282 batting average and an OPS of .898.
He was then dealt to the Atlanta Braves where he hit over 30 home runs in 157 in the course of two seasons before being traded to the Los Angeles Angels in which he was at his most elite.
Following the deadline move, Teixeira maintained a slash line of .358/.449/.632 with an astronomical OPS of 181 and 13 home runs in 53 games – which is a 40 home run pace.
In that season,Teixeira led the AL in both home runs (finished tied with Carlos Peña of the Tampa Bay Rays) with 39, and RBI with 122 along with finishing second in the most valuable player voting.
Teixeira received his first and only World Series ring that year despite struggling offensively (.136 batting average in the Fall Classic) but one could claim that the Bombers don’t win their 27th title without his walk-off home run in Game 2 of the ALDS.
Additionally, he had an impressive eight-year stretch in which he smacked 30 home runs and 100 RBIs from 2004-11. Those initial three seasons were polar opposites to the latter three Teixeira had in the Bronx.
From 2014 to today, he has played in 148 fewer games while hitting 48 fewer home runs and batting .226 featuring numerous excruciating injuries.
2016 has to be the worst year of his career as he owns a .202 batting average with only 10 home runs and 27 RBI in 78 games but that does not take away from the fact that he will retire with 400 doubles, 400 home runs, five Gold Glove awards, three Silver Slugger awards, three All-Star appearances, and was on the MVP ballot in seven of his 14 years in baseball.
Sure, his numbers don’t pop off the page and slap you in the face with a first ballot hall of famer, but Teixeira’s enshrinement into Cooperstown does not seem so far-fetched.
Why? Because there are few first basemen in the history of the game that were able to change the complexity of a contest the way Teixeira did.
According to Jon Morosi, Teixeira is the only first baseman in history to record more than 400 home runs, more than 1,200, more than 90 walks, a slugging percentage of .500 or more, and to also receive five golden gloves.
Therefore, the 36-year old is one of the best all-around first basemen in the history of the sport. Talk about a bold statement.
We’ve compared him to first baseman, but what about switch hitters?
Just over a month ago at Petco Park in San Diego, Teixeira connected for a solo home run number 400 which joined only Mickey Mantle (536), Eddie Murray (504), Chipper Jones (468) and former teammate Carlos Beltran as the only switch-hitters to join the 400-homer club.
You can thank the injuries that derailed such an elite career. A faulty neck injury, an inadequate knee, fractured leg, a devastating wrist injury and much much more will take away his chances at earning an enshrinement from the Baseball Writers Of America.
“Obviously, he was a Hall of Fame-type hitter when he was healthy, but what was so impressive to me was this was a Hall of Fame defensive guy, too,” said Girardi in a press conference following Teixeira’s announcement. “That was impressive to me because as a manager you always want a player who is well-rounded.”
So, what will his legacy be? Maybe it’s exactly what he wants it to be which he said was a “switch-hitter with power that played good defense and played the game the right way.”
Despite injuries, though, his all-around talent was rare. His stardom was elite. And we may never see someone who can do so many things in the sport that very few have accomplished.
Mark Teixeira should be considered for a spot in the Hall. Whether it will happen or not is up to the voters. However, no one can deny what he did since 2003 and that he needs to be in the conversation in five years.
Until then, what do you think? Cast your vote below and let your voice be heard.
— ChristianKouroupakis (@TheRealCk260) August 6, 2016