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Ryan Teixeira brought grit, talent to Arroyo Grande
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Player of the Decade
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Ryan Teixeira brought grit, talent to Arroyo Grande

Ryan Teixeira was certainly a Hall of Fame person.

But, do not, for one second, underestimate the late Arroyo Grande High standout's athletic ability. 

Teixeira had a rare combination of athletic talents, able to play both football and baseball at a high level. 

But it was the way he played each of these sports that still stands out.

Usually multi-sport athletes fit into certain tropes. The high school quarterback is also the point guard on the basketball team and the ace pitcher on the baseball team. 

Teixeira, though, didn't fit that stereotype. He was a rugged linebacker on the Eagle football team who relentlessly attacked opposing quarterbacks and ball-carriers.

On the baseball diamond, Teixeira transformed into a rangy, middle-of-the-lineup corner infielder who possessed a strong arm. Teixeira could play first and third base, shortstop and either corner outfield spot.

That's a rare combination.

"You don’t run into a guy that size that is that smooth and that athletic," former Arroyo Grande High coach Brad Lachemann once said of Teixeira. "He's been a huge kid ever since he was a freshman. He worked his way into it strength-wise, but he was still agile at short. Obviously, he’s always had a good arm and he just put all that stuff together."

For his ability on the baseball diamond, Teixeira has been chosen as one of the nominees for the Times' Player of the Decade award. Teixeira joins the previous nominees who have been announced: Santa Maria High grad Trevor Garcia, former Santa Ynez ace Zach Torra; Righetti graduate Troy Prober and Nipomo High's Jeff McNeil.

Teixeira, a 2015 graduate who signed with Colorado Mesa in 2014, played on the varsity team for three seasons at Arroyo Grande. 

The 6-foot-1, 180-pounder who played shortstop and third base, had a decent debut with the Eagles in 2013, hitting .288 in 73 at-bats, scoring 11 times while knocking in seven runs with five doubles.

Then, during his junior season in 2014, Teixeira took his game to another level. Playing in the area's toughest league, Teixeira batted .437 with 38 hits in 87 at-bats, adding 23 runs and 21 RBIs. He knocked 11 doubles and homered twice. 

Then, as a senior, Teixeira hit .377 with 29 hits, 16 runs and 18 RBIs with four doubles and two more home runs in 25 games.

For his career, Teixeira hit .371 with 88 hits in 81 games, 50 runs, 46 RBIs, 20 doubles and four home runs.

Making Teixeira's baseball career all the more impressive is that Teixeira battled through a debilitating disease toward the end of his senior year. He was diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma late in the season. Teixeira, who was eventually diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia, fought cancer for two years before passing away in March of 2017. His fight and positivity spread throughout the Central Coast, leaving a lasting impact in the area and beyond. 

"His personality, his leadership and the way he was anchoring us when things got away from us," are what impressed Lachemann the most about Teixeira. "I don’t know if everybody knew what he brought to this team until he wasn’t playing with us.

"Ryan made everybody else confident, he was that one big guy we in the middle of everything that could level the playing field against anybody," Lachemann added.

The Times is polling current and former coaches to develop its list of nominees for Player of the Decade. A tournament-style voting contest will be held to determine the Player of the Decade. Readers will be able to vote online at santamariatimes.com; lompocrecord.com and syvnews.com. Players from Northern Santa Barbara County and San Luis Obispo County whose final seasons where between 2009-10 and 2019-20 are eligible.

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