Growing up in Severna Park, Maryland, Mark Teixeira idolized Cal Ripken. He also loved someone else from another team. He idolized Don Mattingly.

In this awesome piece by Jack Curry at the New York Times, Curry paints Tex as the inevitable future Yankee, the one destined to take over from his idol as the next great Yankee firstbaseman.

Here’s a short sample of the article:

During Mark’s childhood, he attended at least one Yankees-Orioles game a year at Memorial Stadium and then Camden Yards. On those days, Teixeira wore a Yankees shirt and cap and was treated like the enemy in his own backyard. Camden Yards was not littered with Yankees fans the way it often is now, so Teixeira’s allegiance to Mattingly was unusual.

“Guys were saying words to me that I didn’t understand at that age,” Teixeira said. “But I had to support Mattingly.”

Whenever Teixeira could secure No. 23 on teams, he did it because it was Mattingly’s number. It was Teixeira’s number at Georgia Tech and with the Texas Rangers, his first team. Mattingly’s 23 is retired, so Teixeira is wearing 25.

Before A-Rod’s steroids confession, I was going to view A-Rod as the great Yankee superstar in the mold of Mantle, DiMaggio, and Ruth. But now, it’s Tex.

Tex’s number is the next jersey or t-shirt I am going to buy next.