New York Yankees’ first baseman Mark Teixeira is expected to announce his retirement this afternoon effective at the end of the 2016 season.
After a renaissance season in 2015 in which he hit 31 home runs, Teixeira has struggled in 2016 hitting .198 with 10 HR and 28 RBI in 77 games for the Bronx Bombers. Since 2012, Teixeira has missed more than 300 games due to injury including missing nearly the entire 2013 season with a wrist tendon that would eventually require surgery. Teixeira has also sustained injuries to his knee, calf, shin and neck not to mention bronchitis. In the final year of his 8-year, $160 million contract with the Yankees, Teixeira has decided to call it a 14-year MLB career at the age of 36.
So is he a Hall of Famer?
Teixeira has 1,836 hits and a modest lifetime batting average of .269. But he does have 404 career home runs. He collected 100 or more RBIs in eight consecutive seasons between 2004 and 2011. This covers the beginning of his big league career with the Texas Rangers, his stints with the Atlanta Braves and Los Angeles Angels before signing that huge contract with the Yankees prior to the 2009 season. His best season came during his inaugural year in New York. He hit .292 with 39 HR and 122 RBI, the latter two figures led the AL. It was good enough to finish runner up in the AL MVP balloting behind Joe Mauer of the Minnesota Twins. Teixeira would also earn his lone World Series ring.
As much of an offensive threat he was from both sides of the plate, the best part of Teixeira’s game is his defense. He would win five Gold Gloves for his play at first base. Perhaps most surprising though is that he was named to only three AL All-Star Teams (2005, 2009 and 2015). If Teixeira was consistently overlooked by the fans and the players for the mid-summer classic, I suspect that he will be overlooked by the baseball writers when it comes to Hall of Fame balloting.
As it is, Teixeira is a borderline Hall of Famer. Had Teixeira had been able to stay healthy over the past five seasons and played until the age of 40, we’re probably looking at 500 career home runs. My guess is that Teixeira will probably get the Fred McGriff treatment and get around 20% of the vote notwithstanding his superior defensive credentials. The Veterans Committee probably won’t be much kinder.
But even if a plaque in Cooperstown isn’t in the offing for Teixeira, he has enjoyed the sort of career that most players would be more than happy to have.