Posted on August 5, 2016 by Bryan Zarpentine
New York Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira announced Friday that he will be retiring at the end of the season. The switch-hitting first baseman fought back tears as he announced that his career will only last until season’s end, but he said he knows that the timing is right.
“Every kid playing whiffle ball in the backyard or playing Little League, you dream of being a Major League baseball player. And after 14 years, it’s time for me to do something else. And after this season, I’m going to retire and do something else,” Teixeira said at Yankee Stadium prior to Friday’s game against the Cleveland Indians.
“I got to live out my dream,” said Teixeira, who is in the final year of an eight-year, $180 million contract he signed with the Yankees prior to the 2009 season. Prior to the season, Teixeira expressed his desire to continue playing for several more years, but a slew of injuries this season helped to convince him otherwise.
“I just realized my body can’t do it anymore,” he explained. “If I’m going to grind through seasons not being healthy, I’d rather be home with my kids. My neck hurts almost every day. The knee thing popped up. It all kind of dawned on me that’s not in the cards.”
The fact that Teixeira is still able to take the field considering the ailments he’s dealt with this season is an accomplishment in itself. Earlier this season it appeared as if he would be lost for the season because of the issues with his knee. However, Teixeira decided to rehab the injury and fight his way back onto the field at a time when the Yankees were still a serious contender for a playoff spot.
Over his 14 seasons in the majors, Teixeira won five Gold Gloves, three Silver Sluggers, and was named to five all-star teams. He also finished second in the American League MVP voting in 2009, the same year he was part of a World Series championship team with the Yankees. Prior to his eight-year tenure with the Yankees, Teixeira also played with the Angels, Braves, and Rangers. He is a career .269 hitter with 404 home runs, 1,836 hits, and 1,281 RBIs. He is just one of five switch hitters with at least 400 home runs, perhaps his most impressive accomplishment.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi said Friday that he will try to get Teixeira in the lineup as often as possible over the final two months of his career. When asked about the possibility of being traded to a contender, Teixeira said no one has approached him about that possibility, adding that retiring as a member of the Yankees is important to him.
Before concluding his retirement press conference, Teixeira took some time to address Yankees fans directly. “I gave you everything I had,” he said, as his voice cracked. “It wasn’t always enough, but I tried my best.”