On This Day In History | 2009
On this day 4 years ago Mark Teixeira was introduced as a New York Yankee. It was the final major announcement of an offseason in which the Yankees spent $161 million on CC Sabathia, $82.5 million on A.J. Burnett, and traded for Nick Swisher. Teixeira was a huge player to land not only because the Yanks needed a quality 1st baseman, but because Tex was being courted by Baltimore after announcing he wanted to be closer to his family in from Severna Park, Maryland. Both Baltimore and Washington offered him deals that would be the longest and most lucrative in those organizations, but he spurned them in favor of the Yanks’ 8-years and $180 million dollars, making the price tag on Tex, CC, and Burnett an incredible $423.5 million. The Yanks beat out other clubs that desperately wanted to sign him including Los Angeles and Boston.
Tex was formally introduced at one of the last press conferences held at the old Yankee Stadium. He talked about coming to the Stadium as an 8 or 9-year-old d watching his idol, Don Mattingly, man the position that was now his. He went on to say, “I look at myself as a leader. First and foremost, I try to do things the right way on the field, and I think you can carry that over to the locker room and earn the respect of your teammates. I’ve always thought that a team has a few leaders that they look up to, and I’ve always wanted to be that guy.” Teixeira would take the #25 since his favorite number, Mattingly’s #23, will forever reside in Monument Park.
With Tex and their other prized acquisitions, the Yankees would not only put the previous season’s 3rd place finish in the rear view mirror, they would win their first World Series since 2000. Tex had no small part in the turnaround, batting .292 with 39 home runs and 122 RBIs, earning a runner-up finish in the MVP vote. One of his biggest hits of the season ended Game 2 of the ALDS as his line drive to left field hit the top of the wall and bounced into the stands to give the Yanks a 2-0 series lead over Minnesota.