Mark Teixeira's best moments as a Yankee
The Yankees, who boast the best farm system in the league, got significantly younger this season while also seeing many veteran players traded away or retiring from the game. One such player was Mark Teixeira, who walked away from baseball after 14 seasons spent with four different teams. The first baseman was acquired by the Bombers before the 2009 season, where he would spend the last eight seasons of his Hall of Fame-caliber career. Tex had many memorable plays over the course of his 958 regular season and 36 postseason games in pinstripes. Below, I, in chronological order, will recount some of my favorite Mark Teixeira moments. Feel free to comment and tweet me any I may have missed that you will always remember!
|Photo Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke|
April 9, 2009- Mark Teixeira connected for his first home run as a Yankee, taking Alfredo Simon deep en route to an 11-2 victory for New York, their first of the season.
June 12, 2009- The Mets came to the Bronx for the first Subway Series in new Yankee Stadium, and they looked to spoil the party. They were leading the Yanks by a score of 8-7, and found themselves one out from a victory. Alex Rodriguez came up to the plate with two men on, and popped up a 3-1 pitch a few steps onto the outfield grass, where shortstop Luis Castillo drifted under it. The ball hit his glove and fell to the ground, allowing two runs to score for an 8-7 Yankees walk-off victory. Mark Teixeira showed why it is always important to hustle, as he scored the winning run all the way from first base.
August 9, 2009- The Yankees were hosting their archrivals, the Boston Red Sox, in a huge division showdown at the Stadium. In the bottom of the eighth inning, Mark Teixeira came up to the plate in a 2-2 game, thanks to Johnny Damon’s game-tying homer in the previous at-bat. Two pitches later, it would be Tex’s turn to get in on the fun. He took a mighty swing and sent the pitch into the second deck to the give the Yankees the lead. It was his first “Yankee moment”, and he was rewarded with a curtain call, much to the delight of the Yankees faithful in attendance.
October 9, 2009- This will always be the first moment that comes to mind when I look back on Teixeira’s time in New York. The Yankees were looking to take a commanding 2-0 ALDS lead against the Minnesota Twins as the game moved into the 11th inning. Mark was leading off the inning and was ahead in the count. Hitting from the right side of the plate, he hit a scorcher down the left field line, and snuck the baseball just over the wall. It was the first walk-off homer in his career, and it would help lead the Yankees to a 3-0 sweep.
October 29, 2009- Less than three weeks later, Teixeira would hit another postseason home run, this time in the World Series. With the Bombers down 1-0 in the Fall Classic, a spark was desperately needed to help even up the series. Down by a run in the fourth inning, the Yankees first baseman stepped up to the plate against longtime foe Pedro Martinez. After taking the first pitch, he hammered the next offering into the Yankees bullpen and electrified the sold-out crowd. New York would go on to win the game and tie the series at a game apiece.
November 4, 2009- The World Series shifted back to the Bronx for a huge Game Six, where the Yanks looked to close out the series. After an offensive explosion by Hideki Matsui, New York had built a 7-3 lead, and were just a single out away from closing out the Series. After a lengthy plate appearance, Shane Victorino hit a weak ground ball to second base. Robinson Cano fielded and threw to first base, as the ball landed in the waiting glove of Mark Teixeira. He raised his fist in the sky as he celebrated his first World Championship, and the Yankees 27th in their storied history.
May 8, 2010- Mark Teixeira had arguably the best regular season game of his career, as he walked into Fenway Park and went 4-for-6 with three home runs and five RBIs. He helped the Yankees clobber their rivals, and he became the first Yankee to hit three homers at Fenway since Lou Gehrig did it 83 years earlier.
MVP-Caliber 2015 Season- This is not a single moment, but rather an entire body of work. After a couple of injury plagued seasons, Teixeira had a comeback season, hitting 31 long balls and driving in 79 runs. He batted just .255, thanks in part to the growing use of the shift by teams. All things considered, however, Tex had his best season in 5 years and made Yankees fan optimistic that he had turned things around going into the 2016 season.
July 3, 2016- Teixeira hit his 400th career home run in San Diego against the Padres, extending their lead to 3-1 in the eighth inning. He became just the fifth ever switch-hitter to reach 400 homers, joining Mickey Mantle, Eddie Murray, Chipper Jones, and former teammate Carlos Beltran. Tex would go deep again for #401 the very next inning, helping secure the road victory.
September 26, 2016- The Yankees were at the Rogers Centre, playing their last road game of the regular season against the Toronto Blue Jays. In an emotional game that saw the benches empty on two different occasions, Toronto entered the ninth inning with a one-run lead. Tex came up to the plate against Jason Grilli, and gave Jays fans one more moment to remember. He clobbered a ball into the right field seats, tying the game as he delivered an emphatic bat flip. Grilli, as well as other players on the field, were unhappy with the flip, as they felt like they were being shown up. When Teixeira got back to the dugout, Jays players were continuing to chirp at him. Having heard enough, he looked at the pitcher and exclaimed, “BLOWN SAVE!”, making sure Grilli didn't forget what just happened. His hit was just the beginning, as the Bombers tacked on four more runs and beat the Blue Jays.
September 28, 2016- Just two nights later, Tex came through with another clutch hit, and this one will arguably be the favorite for many Yankees fans. With New York down by a pair of runs against the Red Sox, Tex came up trying to save the Bombers’ season. The bases were loaded, but an out meant going through the agony of watching your arch rivals celebrating a division title on your turf. He mad sure that didn't happen, though, as he took Joe Kelly deep into the Yankees bullpen for a walk-off grand slam. It was the first regular season walk-off homer, and Teixeira celebrated with the joy of a little kid. Tex had gone more than 6,900 at-bats with out a game-winning home run, easily the longest such streak in MLB history.
On October 2nd, the Yankees said goodbye to their first baseman with a nice pregame ceremony, before pulling him for a defensive replacement later in the game. He was greeted with a long ovation from the fans in attendance, and Teixeira had a definite sense of peace about retiring. He will be sorely missed by the fans in the Bronx. Thanks for the memories!
Article by: Dan Degregorio