Hall of Fame Case: Mark Teixeira

Hall of Fame Case: Mark Teixeira

by January 11, 2022 0 comments

Mark Teixeira has one of the least talked about careers of anyone on the 2022 Hall of Fame ballot. However, that doesn’t make him any less intriguing of a case for induction.

The switch-hitting first baseman spent 14 seasons in the major leagues; five seasons with the Texas Rangers before pit stops in Atlanta and Anaheim. After that, he spent the final eight seasons of his career with the New York Yankees, where he won his lone World Series title.

As for his playing career, Teixeira slashed .268/.360/.509 with a wRC+ of 127, 409 home runs, and 408 doubles. He also added 50.6 rWAR, a .371 wOBA, three All-Star games, three Silver Sluggers, and five Gold Gloves.

But is that enough to make the Hall of Fame? Let’s take a closer look between the lines at Teixeira’s case.

Make sure to check out all of our other Hall of Fame Cases.

Pros

At face value, Teixeira appears like a Hall of Very Good-caliber player. However, he ranks fifth all-time in home runs among switch-hitters. He also ranks seventh in OPS and is one of only four switch-hitters to have at least 400 doubles and 400 home runs.

Moreover, he compares well with Hall of Famer Eddie Murray––a fellow switch-hitting first baseman. In Teixeira’s best eight-year stretch in rWAR, he accumulated 41.4 with a .284/.377/.537 slash line. He also added 288 home runs, 933 runs batted in, and 299 doubles. As for Murray, he posted 42.0 rWAR in his best eight-year stretch, accompanied by a .300/.378/.514 slash line. Murray added 231 home runs, 843 runs batted in, and 242 doubles.

Overall, their careers saw them put up similar numbers on a rate basis, relative to their era. Teixeira had a 126 OPS+, Murray had a 129. They both had a wRC+ of 127. Murray may have accumulated more wins above replacement, but Teixeira beat him by 0.7 rWAR per 162 games.

They also had the same number of Silver Sluggers and won one World Series, but Teixeira won two more Gold Gloves.

On top of comparing well with Murray, Teixeira was one of the best players in baseball during his peak. From 2004 to 2011, only four position players had more fWAR than him. Those four were Miguel Cabrera, Alex Rodriguez, Chase Utley and Albert Pujols.

Lastly, he’s second all-time among first basemen in defensive runs saved behind only Pujols.

Cons

Say what you want about how he stacks up against Murray, a player whose career rWAR is only 50.6 is a hard sell for the Hall of Fame. Among Hall of Famers that played 75% of their games at first base, Teixeira would rank 14th out 21, 13th in runs batted in, and 16th in on-base percentage.

He would rank sixth in home runs, but ninth in slugging percentage.

On top of that, the trophy case in his house doesn’t compare to the likes of Lou Gehrig, Johnny Mize, or Orlando Cepeda, despite having more rWAR than the latter.

Verdict

Teixeira likely won’t get the necessary votes to stay on the ballot after this season. The 2022 ballot is full of polarizing candidates for a bevy of reasons. Those players attract a lot of attention and discussion, which takes away from the examination of a career like Teixeira’s.

However, the numbers speak for themselves. Teixeira was a gifted defensive first baseman and is one of the best switch-hitters of all time. There’s a legitimate case for him to garner support on the Hall of Fame ballot.

That being said, a lot would have to go his way to stay on past 2022. He’s likely not going to crack many top 15s if one power ranked the Hall of Fame cases, much less crack the top 10 for the full-ballot voters.


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