Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira took a pitch off the foot on Thursday night and today he kicked Yankees fans in the gut by announcing at a press conference that he will retire at the end of this season, citing his family life and the year’s injuries he has endured over his illustrious 14-year career. The 36-year-old first baseman, who won a World Series in his first season with the club in 2009, has accumulated five Gold Gloves, three All-Star selections and three Silver Slugger awards.
“Tex,” as Yankees fans affectionately call him, is one of the greatest switch hitters in the history of the sport. The highlight of his farewell season came on July 3 when he hit two home runs, including his 400th career blast, becoming only the fifth switch-hitter in MLB history to jack 400 home runs in a career.
Since we’re talking Teixeira stats, he is also one of three switch hitters (Eddie Murray and Chipper Jones are the others) to hit 20 homers in each of his first three seasons and holds the all-time major league record for most games with a home run from both sides of the plate, with 14 and most RBI in a season by a switch hitter (144).
Before blowing up in MLB, Tex played college baseball at Georgia Tech and won the Dick Howser Trophy as the national collegiate baseball player of the year. It was a glimpse into what would become a memorable, border-line Hall of Fame career which if not for injuries would have been even better.
Teixeira was drafted in 2001 by the Texas Rangers, and made his MLB debut in 2003. In mid-2007 he was traded to the Atlanta Braves, and traded again in 2008 to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. In December 2008, he agreed to a contract with the New York Yankees and his celebrity increased ten-fold.
Today he plans to retire at the age of 36. This season now becomes the farewell tour for Teixeira. His classic, long, uppercut swing will be missed. The numerous blasts he produced and the Mattinglyesque plays he delivered at first base too. He gets too enjoy his final season and ride off into the sunset as a prominent and standout performer in the annals of the Bronx Bombers’ rich and star-studded history.