By MICHELE GRAHAM
Photography by CHICHI UBIÑA
Mark Teixeira is as nice as they come. You would think a guy who was not only part of the 2009 World Series championship Yankees, he was crucial to its winning; who was named to the MLB All-Star list three times; who has a host of baseball awards to his credit would be a lot less than nice. But not Mark. This Greenwich resident and father of three is genuine and giving. If MLB had a mensch award, Mark would have been nominated many times over.
It should come as no surprise then that Mark is very philanthropically involved. We don’t mean he just writes a check; we mean he’s really involved. When good friends Wendy Reyes and Colleen deVeer told Mark about their idea for a Greenwich International Film Festival and asked if he could help out, Mark took a deep dive. You see, Mark is a film buff. While other players played video games while on the road, Mark was streaming movies. One favorite: Bull Durham because of how well it captures the minor leagues.
But Mark also appreciates the ability of film to affect social change. As he says, “Film and TV are very powerful. They give filmmakers a chance to bring out social issues. Becoming involved in GIFF was a natural fit. I could raise the level of exposure because of my involvement in athletics and entertainment.”
Wait a minute, he’s a former pro ball player – where’s the entertainment? “I’ve been in front of the camera for 15 years,” says Mark. “I’m comfortable being filmed talking about sports or whatever the topic may be.” Just take a look at Mark’s cameo in the HBO series Entourage (avail- able on YouTube). Anyone from this area can appreciate the humor (and reality) in Mark’s lines when he comments on the expense of having three kids in private school in Greenwich, CT. “We had talked for about six to twelve months about how to use me. I played myself and wrote my script,” he notes. Mark also co-wrote his lines in the Showtime series Billions.
As for larger forays into acting Mark says, “I don’t want to do something that would take me away from my family. I’ve already had a demanding career. And if I’m going to do something, I want to do it all the way.” Instead Mark will be working with ESPN for about 50-60 days a year doing baseball analysis. “I love analyzing trades and trends in the business. ESPN is giving me a platform to talk about baseball and other sports on TV and radio.”
Mark is passionate about Harlem RBI, which provides opportunities for inner city youth to “Play, Learn and Grow” and where he is on the Board of Directors. Believing “It is important to support kids who otherwise wouldn’t have chances,” Mark helps with fundraising, does motivational speaking, and serves as a very visible representative of the organization. He retains his strong connections to Georgia, where he played for the Atlanta Braves and Georgia Tech and earned National Collegiate Baseball Player of the Year honors. He’s on the Board of the Emerald Corridor Foundation, a non- profit that is bringing green spaces and community building to Northwest Atlanta. He also helps with fundraising for his alma mater, especially for the athletics department.
Now that he has time away from the field, Mark is enjoying being active with his children’s school. Does he have sights on any of them getting entrenched in baseball like their famous dad? “I don’t want them to specialize, I want them to have fun. I want them to be the best they can be and do the sport they love the most.” Like we said: Super. Nice. Guy.