ATLANTA ( Associated Press) — Mark Teixeira earned a lot of accolades during his long stint in the big leagues. Five Golden Glove trophies. Three Silver Slugger Awards. A World Series ring.
Earned a lot of money too.
Still, Teixeira felt something was missing.
That gap in his resume will be filled Saturday when he graduates from Georgia Tech with a degree in business administration, more than two decades after he left campus to pursue a professional baseball career.
“I am very proud to say that I am now a Georgia Tech graduate,” Teixeira said on a Zoom call this week. “I’ve always said I’m an alum. It was weird to say that.”
Teixeira played three years for the Yellow Jackets, becoming one of the nation’s best college players (and met a fellow student, who became his wife) before going to the Texas Rangers as the No. 5 overall pick in 2001. ).
He made it to the big leagues two years later, starting a 14-year career that included three All-Star Game appearances, nine 30-homer campaigns, eight seasons with at least 100 RBIs, and one World Series with the New York Yankees. Title included. in 2009.
Teixeira spent most of his career with the Rangers and Yankees, although in between he returned to Atlanta to play parts of two seasons with the Braves.
he retired After the 2016 season and went live, spent four years as an ESPN analyst Much of it is geared towards revitalizing the neighborhood, also operating in real estate and investment ventures. West side of Atlanta.
When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, Georgia Tech joined most other schools in offering virtual classes.
Teixeira, who had left ESPN and moved to Austin, Texas, felt it was a one-time opportunity to earn her degree.
“I didn’t have to do that,” he said. “But it is something that was always on my mind. I always wanted to finish my degree.”
Still active in Georgia Tech affairs – a roof in the school’s baseball stadium bears his name – he came into contact with Teixeira University president Angel Cabrera. Together, they devised a plan that would allow the former big leaguer to complete the 41 hours required for his degree.
Teixeira acknowledged that academics was not her top priority during her first stint at Georgia Tech.
“I mastered baseball,” he said with a laugh. “Let’s be honest. I majored in baseball and worked in business.”
He was much more committed to his schoolwork this time, but the long layoff posed some challenges.
For starters, many of the classes he took the first time around were no longer part of the curriculum, so it was time to make sure everything matched up and that he didn’t lose any of the credit hours he had already earned.
Then came a hard dose of reality. Initially signing up for a business degree with a concentration in finance, Teixeira quickly realized he was in over his head.
“I get the syllabus for all these classes and I’m like, ‘Ugh, this sounds a little more difficult than I expected,'” he said. “At this level of your business degree, finance at Georgia Tech is like quantum finance — and I can barely add.”
Teixeira even thought about leaving, only to be talked about by his wife, Leigh Williams, a Georgia Tech graduate.
“I told my wife, ‘Honey, I’m going to fail, there’s no way I’m going to be able to take these finance classes,'” he said. “My wife was like, ‘Relax, call your advisor, and figure something out.'”
Teixeira dropped her finance course and began looking for classes in general management. This presented some additional challenges.
“The hardest part is signing up for classes that are in the first week, and then trying to move on to new classes once they’re all booked up,” he said. “I was refreshing my registration every hour, hoping these spots would open up.”
Eventually they did, allowing Teixeira to take the classes she wanted during that first semester at Georgia Tech.
In his last two semesters, the 42-year-old split time between online and in-person classes. He would fly to Atlanta every three to four weeks, arriving early on Monday mornings and staying until Thursday evening to attend classes, where most of the students were about half his age.
“I was writing notes by hand,” quipped Teixeira. “All the other students are tapping on their computers, and I see my old notebook trying to take notes by hand.”
Despite the challenges, Teixeira said he would graduate with a stellar grade-point average of about 3.6. He also enjoyed interacting with his fellow students, including catcher Kevin Parada, one of the top players on this year’s baseball team.
They took a marketing class together this past semester. Teixeira used the opportunity to give a young prospect their cell phone number.
For his degree, Teixeira plans to give it a major exposure in his home office.
“It’s a matter of great pride,” he said. “I’m going to put it right there with the Gold Gloves, the Silver Sluggers, and the World Series Trophy.”
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