Teixeira was originally chosen in the ninth round of the MLB amateur draft by the Boston Red Sox in 1998, straight out of high school. Teixeira chose not to sign with the Red Sox, however, opting instead to play college baseball for Georgia Tech.
Teixeira played college baseball at Georgia Tech. In 2001, his batting average was .427, and his OPS was 1.319. He also won the Dick Howser Trophy as the national Collegiate baseball player of the year.
In 2001, Teixeira re-entered the draft and was selected by the Texas Rangers with the fifth overall pick. The Philadelphia Phillies were considering drafting him with the fourth pick until Teixeira's agent, Scott Boras, advised the Phillies against it. The Phillies looked to avoid another J.D. Drew-type situation (Drew held out and re-entered the draft under Boras' advice) and passed on Teixeira (coincidentally, the Phillies used that pick to draft another product of Mt. St. Joseph High School, pitcher Gavin Floyd, now of the Chicago White Sox). He began playing professional baseball the next season. He started the 2002 season in the Florida State League, where he batted .320 with an OPS of 1.000 in 38 games. He was then moved up to the Double-A Tulsa Drillers, with whom he batted .316 with a .994 OPS and hit ten home runs in 48 games. It turned out that 2002 would be his only season in the minor leagues; he made the Rangers out of spring training in 2003.
As a rookie in 2003, Teixeira batted .259 with a .811 OPS and 26 home runs. He improved on these numbers in 2004, batting .281 with an OPS of .930, 38 home runs, and 112 RBI. For his accomplishments in 2005, he earned the Silver Slugger Award as the best-hitting first baseman in the American League as well as the Gold Glove signifying his place as the best fielding first baseman in the American League. Teixeira was also named to his first All-Star Game after winning the fan voting portion of the selection to be named the starting first baseman for his league. During the game, Teixeira hit a home run from the right hand side of the plate - something he had failed to do in the entire first half of the season. In a five game span around the All-Star Game, Teixeira hit five home runs with 13 RBI. He finished July with 13 home runs and 30 RBI and was named the American League Player of the Month. Overall, Teixeria, batted .301, with 43 home runs, and 144 RBI at the end of the 2005 season.
Teixeira's 2006 season began slowly, as he collected only nine home runs before the All-Star Break. After the All-Star Break, however, Teixeira was among the league's leaders, and again finished with over 30 homers and 100 RBI for the season.
Teixeira agreed to a two-year $15.4 million contract before the 2006 season to avoid his first two years of arbitration.
On June 9, 2007, Teixeira's franchise record 507 consecutive-game streak came to an end. Teixeira landed awkwardly at first base after running out a grounder in a game against the Milwaukee Brewers the previous day. The streak was second to Miguel Tejada at the time. The strained quadriceps placed Teixeira on to disabled list for only the second time of his career.
On July 30, 2007, two weeks after turning down an eight-year, $140,000,000 contract extension from the Rangers, Teixeira was traded to the Atlanta Braves (along with left-handed reliever Ron Mahay) for catcher/first baseman Jarrod Saltalamacchia, and four prospects: shortstop Elvis Andrus, and starting pitchers Matt Harrison, Neftali Feliz and Beau Jones. The trade became official on July 31 when medical records were examined. Teixeira was activated for that night's game against the Houston Astros and arrived in the dugout during the seventh inning. He was promptly shown on Turner Field's high definition video board and received a boisterous applause from the Atlanta crowd.
In his Braves debut on August 1, 2007, Teixeira hit a 3-run homer and drove in four runs in a 12-3 rout of the Houston Astros. Teixeira went on to homer in each of the following two games, becoming just the second player to homer in his first three games as a Brave - the first being Gary Sheffield in 2002.
On August 19, 2007, Teixeira had his first multi-HR game against the Arizona Diamondbacks off Yusmeiro Petit. He would repeat that feat the next day on going deep for two three-run home runs versus the Cincinnati Reds. Teixeira, a switch-hitter, drilled both homers on the 19th batting from the left side of the plate, and hit his homers on the 20th from the right side. Teixeira was named co-NL Player of the Week from August 20–26 by slugging .793 with three home runs. As expected, Teixeira was awarded NL Player of the Month for August. On September 22, Teixeira had his first walk-off hit with the Braves when he singled in Willie Harris giving the Braves a 4-3 extra-inning victory.
In 54 games with Atlanta in 2007, Teixeira batted .317 with 17 home runs and 56 RBI. The Braves avoided arbitration in the 2007 off-season and signed Teixeira to a one-year, $12.5 million dollar contract for the 2008 season.
Los Angeles Angels of AnaheimEdit
At the conclusion of the 2008 season, Teixeira became a free agent. Represented by super-agent Scott Boras, Teixeira, along with Manny Ramirez, was considered to be one of the top hitters in the 2008-2009 free agent pool. Multiple sportswriters speculated that Teixeira would sign with the Boston Red Sox, due to their need for a big bat, their distaste for Ramirez, and their working relationship with Boras. As negotiations continued, it appeared Teixeira would end up with either the Red Sox, the Washington Nationals, his hometown Baltimore Orioles, or return to the Los Angeles Angels. On December 18, Red Sox General Manager Theo Epstein and team owner John W. Henry flew to Teixeira's Texas home for a meeting with Teixeira and Boras. Following the meeting, Henry shocked the baseball world by declaring that the Red Sox were "not a factor" in the Teixeira negotiations. After cryptic messages from Henry and Boras, who described the meeting as "very positive," sportswriters decided that the comments were a bluff made by Henry to force Boras to reduce Teixeira's salary demands, and that the Red Sox were still the frotrunners. On December 21, the Angels dropped out of the race, deciding to focus on finder a closer to replace the departed Francisco Rodríguez. The Orioles refused to raise their offer, somewhere in the range of seven years, $140–150 million, to match those made by the Red Sox and Nationals, and were informed they were out of the running as well. This led many to speculate that Teixeira, who had stated his desire to sign with a team before Christmas, would soon be signing with the Red Sox, as few could envision him signing with a struggling franchise such as the Nationals. On December 22, it was reported that the Nationals had raised their offer to as high as $184 million over 8 years, while the Red Sox would not go higher than $165–180 million. Negotiations appeared to be a two horse race until December 23, when the New York Yankees swept in and signed Teixeira to an eight-year $180 million contract, with a $5 million signing bonus. It was later revealed that Teixeira would not have signed with the Nationals, as he wanted to play for a winning team, and that his wife had preferred living in New York over Boston. This deal, in addition to the signings of CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett, raised the Yankees' total spending in the 2008-2009 to almost half a billion dollars.
In 2005, Teixeira became the third switch-hitter in MLB history, after Eddie Murray and Chipper Jones, to hit at least 20 home runs in each of his first three seasons. He is also one of just seven players in Major League history to hit at least 100 home runs in his first three seasons joining Hall of Famers Joe DiMaggio, Ralph Kiner, and Eddie Matthews as well as other current first base stars, Albert Pujols, Todd Helton, and Ryan Howard. His 2005 total of 144 RBI is a Major League record for a switch hitter.
- Top 500 home run hitters of all time
- Hitting for the cycle
- Major League Baseball hitters with three home runs in one game
- ↑ Distinguished Americans & Canadians of Portuguese Descent. Retrieved on 2008-01-09.
- ↑ The Official Site of The Texas Rangers: Official Info: Press Release
- ↑ The Official Site of The Atlanta Braves: News: Atlanta Braves News
- ↑ The Official Site of Major League Baseball: News: Game Wrapup
- ↑ The Official Site of The Atlanta Braves: News: Game Wrapup
- ↑ Braves deal Teixeira to Angels for Kotchman, minor leaguer
- Career statistics and player information from MLB, or ESPN, or Baseball-Reference, or Fangraphs, or The Baseball Cube
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