Mark Charles Teixeira (/teɪˈʃɛrə/ tay-SHERR-ə; born April 11, 1980) is an American former professional baseball first baseman. He played 14 seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Texas Rangers, Atlanta Braves, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and New York Yankees. Before his professional career, he played college baseball at Georgia Tech, where in 2001 he won the Dick Howser Trophy as the national collegiate baseball player of the year. One of the most prolific switch hitters in MLB history, Teixeira was an integral part of the Yankees' 27th World Series championship in 2009, leading the American League (AL) in home runs and runs batted in (RBI) while finishing second in the Most Valuable Player Award (MVP) balloting. Teixeira was a three-time All-Star, won five Gold Glove Awards and three Silver Slugger Awards, and also holds the all-time major league record for most games with a home run from both sides of the plate, with 14. He was the fifth switch hitter in MLB history to reach 400 home runs.
Drafted fifth overall by the Texas Rangers in 2001, Teixeira made his MLB debut on Opening Day in 2003, and hit 26 home runs as a rookie. He hit career-highs of 43 home runs and 144 RBI in 2005. The centerpiece of consecutive mid-season trades in 2007 and 2008, the Rangers first sent him to the Braves for Elvis Andrus and Matt Harrison. His next team in mid-2008 was the Angels, where they lost in the first round of the playoffs. In December 2008, he agreed to an eight-year contract with the Yankees, and his most productive season for the Yankees was the following year. Injuries limited his effectiveness afterward, including early season-ending wrist surgery in 2013, related wrist injuries the following year, and necks spasms and torn cartilage in 2016. Teixeira retired at the conclusion of the 2016 season and contract with the Yankees. Each season from 2004 to 2011, he hit at least 30 home runs with 100 RBI.
Mark Teixeira grew up in Severna Park, Maryland, the son of Margaret "Margy" Canterna and John Teixeira. He attended Mount Saint Joseph High School in Baltimore, Maryland, where he played for the school's varsity baseball team. His paternal grandfather emigrated from the South American country Guyana, and he has English and Portuguese ancestry through his father. Teixeira's mother is of Italian descent.
Teixeira was originally chosen in the ninth round of the 1998 Major League Baseball draft by the Boston Red Sox. Teixeira chose not to sign with the Red Sox, however, opting instead to play college baseball for Georgia Tech citing that he didn't appreciate how the Red Sox treated him. In the summer of 1999, he played for the Orleans Cardinals and won the Outstanding Pro Prospect Award in the Cape Cod Baseball League.
Teixeira played college baseball at Georgia Tech. In 2000, his batting average was .427, and his on-base plus slugging (OPS) was 1.319. He also won the Dick Howser Trophy as the national collegiate baseball player of the year.
In 2001, Teixeira re-entered the draft and was selected by the Texas Rangers with the fifth overall pick. The Philadelphia Phillies considered selecting him with the fourth overall pick, but the demands of Teixeira's agent Scott Boras swayed the Phillies to select Gavin Floyd. The Rangers signed Teixeira to a Major League contract worth $9.5 million over 4 years.
Teixeira began the 2002 season in the Florida State League, where he batted .320 with an OPS of 1.000 in 38 games. He was then moved up to the Double-A Tulsa Drillers, with whom he batted .316 with a .994 OPS and hit 10 home runs in 48 games. It turned out that 2002 would be his only season in the minor leagues; he made the Rangers out of spring training in 2003.
Texas Rangers (2003–2007)
As a rookie in 2003, Teixeira hit .259 with 26 home runs, 84 RBI, and a .811 OPS. Teixeira began to improve in 2004, batting .281 with an OPS of .930, 38 home runs, and 112 RBI. On August 17, 2004, Teixeira hit for the cycle. For his accomplishments in 2005, he earned the Silver Slugger Award as the best-hitting first baseman in the American League as well as the Gold Glove signifying his place as the best fielding first baseman in the American League. He was also named to his first All-Star Game after winning the fan voting portion of the selection to be named the starting first baseman for his league. During the game, Teixeira hit a home run from the right hand side of the plate, something he had failed to do in the entire first half of the season. In a five-game span around the All-Star Game, Teixeira hit five home runs with 13 RBI. He finished July with 13 home runs and 30 RBI and was named the American League Player of the Month. Overall, Teixeira batted .301 with 43 home runs and 144 RBI in the 2005 season.
In 2005, Teixeira became the third switch-hitter in MLB history to hit at least 20 home runs in each of his first three seasons, after Eddie Murray and Chipper Jones. He is also one of just five players in Major League history to hit at least 100 home runs in his first three seasons, joining Hall of Famers Joe DiMaggio, Ralph Kiner, and Eddie Mathews as well as current first base star, Albert Pujols. Other players – Mark McGwire, José Canseco, Todd Helton, Ryan Howard – have hit 100+ home runs in their first three full seasons, but these players had all played partial seasons prior to playing their first three full seasons. His 2005 total of 144 RBI is a Major League record for a switch-hitter.
Teixeira's 2006 season began slowly, as he collected only nine home runs before the All-Star Break. After the All-Star Break, however, he was among the league's leaders in home runs, and again finished with over 30 homers and 100 RBI for the season.
Teixeira agreed to a two-year $15.98 million contract before the 2006 season to avoid his first two years of arbitration.
On June 9, 2007, Teixeira's franchise record 507 consecutive-game streak came to an end. Teixeira landed awkwardly at first base after running out a grounder in a game against the Milwaukee Brewers the previous day. The streak was second to Miguel Tejada at the time. The strained quadriceps muscle placed Teixeira on the disabled list for only the second time of his career.
Atlanta Braves (2007–2008)
In July 2007, two weeks after turning down an eight-year, $140 million contract extension from the Rangers, Teixeira was traded to the Atlanta Braves (along with left-handed reliever Ron Mahay) for catcher/first baseman Jarrod Saltalamacchia, and four prospects: shortstop Elvis Andrus, and starting pitchers Matt Harrison, Neftalí Feliz and Beau Jones. Teixeira was activated for that night's game against the Houston Astros and arrived in the dugout during the seventh inning. He was promptly shown on Turner Field's high definition video board and received a boisterous applause from the Atlanta crowd.
In his Braves debut on August 1, 2007, Teixeira hit a 3-run homer and drove in 4 runs in a 12–3 rout of the Houston Astros. Teixeira went on to homer in each of the following two games, becoming just the second player to homer in his first three games as a Brave – the first being Gary Sheffield in 2002.
On August 19, 2007, Teixeira had his first multi-HR game against the Arizona Diamondbacks off Yusmeiro Petit. He would repeat that feat the next day, going deep for two three-run home runs versus the Cincinnati Reds. Teixeira, a switch-hitter, hit both homers on the 19th batting from the left side of the plate, and hit his homers on the 20th from the right side. He was named co-NL Player of the Week from August 20–26 by slugging .793 with three home runs and as expected, he was awarded NL Player of the Month for August. On September 22, Teixeira had his first walk-off hit with the Braves when he singled in Willie Harris giving the Braves a 4–3 extra-inning victory.
In 54 games with Atlanta in 2007, Teixeira batted .317 with 17 home runs and 56 RBI. The Braves avoided arbitration in the 2007 offseason and signed Teixeira to a one-year, $12.5 million contract for the 2008 season.
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (2008)
In July 2008, Teixeira was traded to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for Casey Kotchman and minor league pitcher Stephen Marek. Batting third in the Angel order, Teixeira hit .358 with 13 home runs and 43 RBIs after the trade to help his new team to their first 100-win season in franchise history. 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.
Teixeira made his postseason debut with a .467 batting average, 7 hits and an RBI. His new team of the Angels would lose the 2008 ALDS to the Boston Red Sox in 4 games. Teixeira declared for free agency at the end of the season.
New York Yankees (2009–2016)
2009: All-Star season and World Series Championship
In December 2008, Teixeira agreed preliminarily to a deal with the New York Yankees worth $180 million over 8 years, and he was formally introduced as a Yankee on January 6, 2009. The contract included a full no-trade clause, plus a $5 million signing bonus. He signed with the Yankees over a number of other clubs, including the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Boston Red Sox, Washington Nationals and Baltimore Orioles. The signing with the Yankees reunited Teixeira with teammate Alex Rodriguez who played for the Texas Rangers from 2000-2003. Teixeira wears number 25 instead of his preferred number 23, since 23 is retired in honor of Don Mattingly. Mattingly was Teixeira's childhood idol, and was the reason Teixeira wore 23 earlier in his career.
In the 2009 season, he led the AL in both home runs (tied with Carlos Peña of Tampa Bay) with 39, and RBI with 122.
Teixeira received a World Series ring as the Yankees won the 2009 World Series, but struggled offensively throughout the postseason, batting only .180 overall and .136 in the World Series. However, several of his hits proved very important, including a walk-off home run in Game 2 of the ALDS and a game-tying home run in Game 2 of the World Series. Additionally, he made several stellar defensive plays in all rounds of the playoffs.
For the 2009 season, Teixeira was awarded both the Gold Glove and Silver Slugger awards for the American League first baseman. He also finished second in the AL MVP balloting behind Twins' catcher Joe Mauer.
2010: Gold Glove season
On May 8, 2010, he became the second Yankees player to hit three home runs in one game against the Boston Red Sox, joining Lou Gehrig, who accomplished the feat on June 23, 1927. Once again, Teixeira won the 2010 Gold Glove Award for American League first basemen. Teixeira never fully recovered from his slow start in April and May, hitting a then career-low .256, but still managed to hit 33 home runs and 108 runs batted in for the 2010 season.
On June 30, 2011, Teixeira hit his 300th career home run.
On August 2, 2011, Teixeira hit a home run from both sides of the plate in the same game for the 12th time in his career, breaking a three-way tie with Chili Davis and Eddie Murray for the most such games all-time.
Through 2011, he had the third-best career fielding percentage among major league first basemen (.996), behind Casey Kotchman and Kevin Youkilis. During the 2011 year, Teixeira batted .248 with 39 home runs and 111 RBI. Teixeira continued his postseason struggles in 2011 as he batted only .167 with 1 RBI in a 5-game ALDS loss to the Detroit Tigers.
2012: Injuries and Gold Glove season
On March 1, 2012, Teixeira hired Casey Close of Excel Sports Management to be his agent. This came almost a year after Teixeira parted ways with Boras. Close also represents fellow Yankees Derek Jeter and Masahiro Tanaka, as well as Ryan Howard.
Throughout the 2012 season, Teixeira was plagued with several health issues and injuries such as a "persistent and almost debilitating" cough caused by severe congestion of the bronchi, wrist inflammation, and a calf strain. Teixeira spent some time on the disabled list with the calf strain from late August until early September. After committing a disputed double play in a 4-5 loss against the Orioles, Teixeira aggravated his calf and was put on the DL again. He would eventually return for the season finale against the Red Sox. He finished the 2012 season with a .251 batting average, 24 home runs, and 84 RBI in 123 games played. Following the season, Teixeira won the 2012 Gold Glove Award for American League first basemen. He won a Fielding Bible Award as the best fielding first baseman in MLB. He named the Yankees' nominee for the 2012 Roberto Clemente Award.
2013: Injury-plagued season
On March 6, 2013, Teixeira suffered a strained wrist tendon while he was part of Team USA of the World Baseball Classic. Teixeira began the 2013 season on the 15-day disabled list and was transferred to the 60-day disabled list on May 14. He returned on May 31, 2013, against the Red Sox going 0−3 with a walk and scoring a run. He aggravated the wrist on June 15, 2013 and the next day, he received cortisone injections to treat the inflammation of the wrist. He was again placed on the 15-day DL due to the inflammation on June 18, 2013. Teixeira played in only 15 games during the 2013 season with a .151 average, 3 home runs, and 12 RBI. On July 1, 2013, Teixeira underwent wrist surgery and was shut down for the rest of the season.
During a game against the Toronto Blue Jays on April 4, 2014, Teixeira left the game after a hamstring injury while trying to fetch a foul ball in foul territory. He was placed on the 15-day disabled list the following day on April 5, 2014. He was activated on April 20, 2014. During a game against the Pittsburgh Pirates on May 17, 2014, Teixeira hit his 350th career home run off of Edinson Vólquez. On May 31, 2014, Teixeira aggravated his wrist that was surgically repaired the previous year. He received a cortisone shot to treat the wrist and missed two games. During a game against the Orioles on June 22, 2014, Teixeira left the game after being hit in the toe of the left foot by a pitch from T. J. McFarland. X-rays came back negative on the toe injury. On September 4, 2014, Teixeira hit his 21st home run of the season, which was a game-tying, solo home run that paved the way for a walk-off 5-4 victory over the Red Sox. In 2014, Teixeira batted only .216 but still hit 22 home runs with 62 RBI limited to 123 games.
2015: All-Star season
Teixeira experienced a resurgent season in 2015, being named to his third All-Star team, hitting the most home runs in a season since 2011. During a game against the Minnesota Twins on August 17, 2015, Teixeira fouled a ball off his leg and left the game. X-Rays were negative, but it was projected that he had a deep bone bruise in his leg. Listed as day-to-day, Teixeira missed nearly two weeks and was sent back to New York on August 31, 2015 to visit Yankees head team physician, Dr. Christopher Ahmad to seek second opinions. On September 1, Teixeira underwent CAT scans, x-rays, and MRIs, all testing negative. On September 4, Teixeira was placed on the 15-day disabled list due to the nagging bone bruise. On September 11, Teixeira underwent further tests and an MRI revealed a fracture in his shin, which eventually ended his 2015 season. The injury required three months to recover. In 111 games of 2015, Teixeira batted .255 with 31 home runs and 79 RBI.
Teixeira struggled to open the season. On May 10, 2016, Teixeira revealed that he had been battling neck spasms. On May 25, he underwent an MRI on his neck, which was negative. The next day, he received a cortisone shot to treat the pain in his neck. In a game against the Orioles on June 3, he left the game due to right knee discomfort. He underwent an MRI the next day, which revealed that there was torn articular cartilage, placing him on the 15-day disabled list. Hoping to avoid surgery, Teixeira opted for treatment and rehabilitation on June 8. He was activated on June 25.
While playing the San Diego Padres on July 3, Teixeira hit two home runs, including his 400th career home run. He became only the fifth switch-hitter to hit 400 home runs in a career. He followed teammate and fellow switch-hitter Carlos Beltrán, who had also hit his 400th career home run for the Yankees less than two months earlier on May 15. Another former teammate who also accomplished this feat was Chipper Jones, with whom Teixeira briefly played as a member of the Atlanta Braves.
On August 5, Teixeira held a press conference in which he announced his intent to retire at the end of the season, citing his family life and the year's injuries.
On September 28, Teixeira hit the final home run of his career, which was a walk-off grand slam off Boston Red Sox pitcher Joe Kelly. It was the first game-ending home run Teixeira had ever hit in a regular-season game.
On September 30, prior to a game against the Orioles, Teixeira was honored by the rock band, Twisted Sister during a pregame ceremony. The band gifted Teixeira an Epiphone Les Paul guitar with signatures from everyone in the band. The song, "I Wanna Rock" was used as Teixeira's walk-up song since he first joined the Yankees. October 2 was Teixeira's final game of his career. Prior to the game, another pregame ceremony took place with his wife and three children visiting. He received several gifts, including a framed jersey and an autographed base. He finished the game 0 for 3 and left the game in the 7th inning as the Yankees lost 2-5 to the Orioles. In 116 games of his final season in the majors, Teixeira batted .204 with 15 home runs and 44 RBI.
- Atlantic Coast Conference Baseball Player of the Year (2000)
- Baseball America College Player of the Year Award (2000)
- College Baseball All-America Team (2000)
- Dick Howser Trophy (2000)
- Fielding Bible Award at first base (2012)
- 3× Major League Baseball All-Star (2005, 2009, 2015)
- 2× Major League Baseball Player of the Month Award (July 2004, August 2007)
- 6× Major League Baseball Player of the Week Award (July 4, 2004; May 22, 2005; September 4, 2005; August 26, 2007; September 5, 2010; April 26, 2015)
- 5× Rawlings Gold Glove Award (2005, 2006, 2009, 2010, 2012)
- 3× Silver Slugger Award (2004, 2005, 2009)
- USA Today All-USA high school baseball team (1998)
- World Series champion (2009)
In entertainment and media
In August 2011, Teixeira made a cameo appearance during the eighth and final season of the HBO TV series Entourage along with teammate Alex Rodriguez. Eduardo Núñez is also seen in the cameo. Teixeira made his Broadway debut in a one-night cameo in the jukebox musical Rock of Ages on January 29, 2013. He played the role of Mark, a bartender at the fictional Bourbon Room.
During 2014 spring training, Teixeira filmed in Foul Territory, a parody interview show aired by the YES Network. He came up with the idea as a way to help the Yankees' new free agent signings to the team. The show has been described as similar in style to The Chris Farley Show and Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis. It was announced as a New York Emmy Award nominee on February 11, 2015.
On February 6, 2017, Teixeira joined ESPN as an analyst.
Other side projects
After signing his first major league contract, Teixeira set up a scholarship at his high school in honor of a friend who was killed in a car accident.
Teixeira and his family reside in Greenwich, Connecticut. In 2006, Teixeira and his wife Leigh Williams, whom he met at Georgia Tech, established the Mark Teixeira Charitable Fund that supported six scholarships at three high schools in the Dallas–Fort Worth area. They have three children, sons Jack Gordan and William Charles, and daughter Addison Leigh.
Teixeira is a devout Catholic and credits much his success to his father's guidance and to the insight that the death of a friend in high school provided. There is also a video on YouTube in which he discusses his faith.
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