After his youth baseball games had ended, Mark Teixeira would urge his father John to drive quickly back to their home in Severna Park so that he could watch Eddie Murray and Cal Ripken Jr. play for the Orioles.
In less than three months, the Mount Saint Joseph graduate and former New York Yankee will join his athletic role models in the Maryland State Athletic Hall of Fame.
“It’s super cool,” he said in a phone interview last week. “I’ve been able to do some pretty special things in my life and I’ve been able to accomplish some special things. Having an honor next to Cal Ripken and Eddie Murray is right up there with the best.”
Teixeira, 39, is one of five members of the 2019 class that was introduced at the Babe Ruth Birthplace and Museum in Baltimore on Tuesday morning. Teixeira, former McDonogh and Loyola Maryland soccer standout Ali Andrzejewski, former tennis pro Steven Krulevitz, former Towson lacrosse star Rob Shek and former Maryland men’s basketball standout Walt Williams will be inducted as the 63rd group Nov. 7 at Martin’s West in Baltimore. Broadcaster Tom Davis and the late Johns Hopkins football coach Jim Margraff will also be recognized that night as the John F. Steadman Lifetime Achievement winners.
Teixeira, one of only five Major League Baseball switch-hitters to hit more than 400 home runs, powered the Yankees to their 27th World Series title in 2009, pacing the American League in both home runs and runs batted in. Since 2017, he has served as a baseball analyst for ESPN, which has put him on the unfamiliar side of questioning coaches and players.
“Quite frankly, I appreciate the media more now because there’s a job to do every single day,” he said. “There’s a story that has to be written or a segment that has to be produced on television, and sometimes you’ve got to just kind of figure stuff out or create a story, and that’s not a negative at all. Sometimes there are boring days. There’s no fights, there’s no walk-off home runs, there’s no records that were broken, and you have to create a story and be entertaining. So I appreciate the media much more now than I did when I played. When I played, I was like, ‘Why are you asking me that stupid question?’ or ‘That doesn’t matter,’ or ‘That’s not a big deal.’ Yeah, it may not be a big deal and it may not matter, but they still have a story to write, and that’s the fact of the matter.”
Considered one of the greatest players produced by the Terps basketball program, Williams, 49, holds school records in single-season scoring average and consecutive 30-point games in his senior year in 1992 and spent 11 years in the NBA. He has been roundly lauded for his decision to stay at the school despite NCAA sanctions that banned the team from postseason play during his sophomore and junior years.
“That’s almost like being inducted into the Hall of Fame, to have people say things like that,” said Williams, who is still tickled when people call him by his nickname “The Wizard.” “It means a lot to me that people respect what I did on the court, but more importantly, what I did off the court.”
Andrzejewski, 34, a decorated midfielder and two-time Maryland Player of the Year for the Eagles, played at Maryland and Loyola, where she set career records in goals and points in just two years. A former member of the Washington Freedom, she has since established soccer programs for underprivileged children in Nicaragua and Belize.
“I really just loved playing soccer, and I still love playing soccer, but now I love coaching soccer,” she said. “I love being involved with sports. So I’ve never done it to receive accolades. I just love it and want to be a part of it as much as I can.”
After four Maryland State Association titles in tennis at Park School and an All-American honor at UCLA, the Park Heights-raised Krulevitz, 68, turned pro in 1973 and remained in the Top 100 for nine straight years, advancing to the third round of the Australian and French opens and Wimbledon. After retiring in 1984, he has guided Gilman to six consecutive Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association championships.
“I started to think about it, and then I hear that the first inductees were Babe Ruth, Jimmie Foxx and Frank ‘Home Run’ Baker,” said Krulevitz, who joins Edward Jacobs and Pam Shriver as the only pure tennis players in the Hall of Fame. “Then I think it kind of hit me a little bit hard in the head. I’m going into something with Babe Ruth? And then I started to realize the thousands of men and women, and I recognized 60% of the names because they’re Marylanders, and it made me proud.”
Born in Baltimore and raised in Bel Air, Shek, 50, paced the Tigers to three conference titles in four years and was named the National Midfielder of the Year as a junior in 1991 while leading the team to the NCAA tournament final. He helped Team USA capture world championships in 1994 and 1998 and enjoyed a seven-year career in the pros.
Davis, 71, has a storied career broadcasting NFL and college football games and the Olympics, while concentrating on the Orioles for the past 13 seasons. He joins in the broadcasting section of the Hall of Fame Steadman, the late Sun columnist, current Maryland broadcaster Johnny Holliday, former Colts play-by-play man Chuck Thompson and former Colts analyst and WBAL sports anchor Vince Bagli — the final two whom he credited for teaching him the ropes.
“I prepare like I was taught by Chuck Thompson and Vince Bagli,” Davis said. “I never try to get by each evening. I make sure that I’ve got a theme that I’m trying to approach, that [former Orioles catcher and MASN colleague] Rick Dempsey knows where I’m going when we talk. The big thing with me is, it’s not about me or my opinion. It’s trying to make the thing just flow and make sure that people want to hear from people like Dempsey and [former Orioles pitcher and MASN colleague] Dave Johnson. To me, I’m basically like a coordinator to make the thing run smoothly.”
Margraff, a record-setting quarterback for the Blue Jays, had guided the program for 29 years, compiling a 221-89-3 record before his sudden death at age 58 on Jan. 2. Margraff, who had been named the National Coach of the Year by the AFCA and D3football.com, would have chafed at the idea of being honored, according to his wife Alice.
“His speech, if he could, would be, ‘Thank you. I appreciate it,’ and then he would sit down,” Alice Margraff quipped. “But I know he would be honored.”