Mark Teixeira recently signed a 180 million-eight year contract to play first base for the New York Yankees. It is no surprise that Mark was going to maximize his free-agent status but to play for New York and follow in the footsteps of his childhood baseball idol, at the position he once played, is as much as you can ask for!
When Mark was growing up in Annapolis, Maryland, it was Don Mattingly who he went to the ballpark to watch when the Yankees came to Baltimore to play the Orioles. Mark used to watch the game with his Yankee cap and root for Don and the Yankees.
I received a call from a good friend (Donruss Trading Cards-Dallas) back in 2006 to ask if I would see if Don Mattingly would have lunch with Mark Teixeira who was then playing for the Texas Rangers. I asked Don and he was all for it. When the Yankees traveled to Texas to play the Rangers we set aside a day where my friend, Mark, Don and myself went to lunch before a night game near the Ballpark at Arlington.
Mark and Don hit it off right away. They enjoyed talking hitting, the game in general and what it meant to be a great teammate. Don was very impressed with Mark's understanding of what was being asked of him both on and off the field , especially how family plays a prominent role in his life.
Since the lunch date with Don, I have had the opportunity to conduct several private signings with Mark at Spring Training and at the Ballpark at Arlington. Mark is very similiar to Don in how they respect and treat others. I have no doubt he will fit in New York and not only survive but thrive as the first baseman for the New York Yankees for years to come.