Mark Teixeira is retiring, and his legacy will be that he was one of the best baseball players of his generation.
He was also so much more than that. He tried to do everything right. He prepared meticulously and relentlessly.
He prided himself on being a good teammate and on putting the bottom line in front of his personal accomplishments.
He was accountable on every level, a stand-up guy who deflected praise and accepted blame.
Teixeira understood that Major League Baseball had given him a platform he could use to make the world a better place.
He was involved in an array of charitable work, but his heart was in the Harlem charter school he helped build.
That school has a 95-percent graduation rate, and in part because of Teixeira’s work, countless kids had college doors opened for them.
His decision to retire at the end of this season will allow his career to be placed in a larger perspective.
Is he a Hall of Famer?
He’s in the conversation. He’s 55th on the all-time home run list with 404 and 123rd with 1,281 RBIs.
His 52.1 WAR is tied with Mickey Cochrane for 170th on the all-time list. He’s just in front of a handful of Hall of Famers, most notably Kirby Puckett and Orlando Cepeda.
Really, though, Teixeira had two distinctly different carers, which isn’t unusual. Before injuries to his back, wrist and legs began to take their toll, he was a monster of a player.
In his first nine seasons (2003-2011), he averaged 35 home runs, 36 doubles, 113 RBIs and a .904 OPS.
During those nine seasons, he was fifth among all players in home runs, sixth in doubles, fourth in RBIs and 15th in OPS.
He was also a three-time All-Star, a three-time Silver Slugger winner and a five-time Gold Glove winner.
He never won an MVP Award, but finished second to Joe Mauer in 2009.
In the end, he was one of those guys who did the game proud. Whether that gets him into Cooperstown is a discussion for another time. Baseball was lucky to have him as long as it did.