(Redirected from Alex Rodriguez)
Alexander Enmanuel Rodríguez
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 3", Weight 190-225 lb.
- High School Westminster Christian High School
- Debut July 8, 1994
- Final Game August 12, 2016
- Born July 27 1975 in New York, NY USA
Alex Rodriguez, often called A-Rod, was one of the biggest stars in major league baseball in the 1990s and 2000s. Having played his first Major League game at age 18, he established himself as one of the game's best players, having won three MVP awards and passing several important career milestones, including 600 career home runs and 1,500 RBI. However. his later years were tainted by accusations of PED use and the longest suspension in the history of Major League Baseball.
He is the only person to play major league baseball at age 18 since the 1970s.
Early Life and Minor League Career
Rodriguez was born in New York City to a Dominican couple, Victor Martinez and Lourdes Navarro. The family moved to the Dominican Republic and then to Miami, Florida when Alex was quite young, and he grew up in Miami. He was a star player on the Westminster Christian High School baseball team, and was selected to play for the U.S. in the 1992 World Junior Championship, where he led the team with 16 RBI, scored 15 runs, hit .264 and slugged .509 as the team won Silver.
A-Rod was drafted by the Seattle Mariners as the # 1 pick in the 1993 amateur draft after earning first team prep All-American honors and leading his high school team to a national #1 ranking. His school record for home runs was later tied by J.P. Arencibia in 2004.
In his first year in the minors in 1994, he went from Single A to AA to AAA ball in the same season, hitting over .300 with power at two of the three stops. He spent about half of 1995 in Triple A ball at Tacoma of the Pacific Coast League, hitting .360 with a .654 slugging percentage.
Major League Career
Rodriguez made his Major League debut with the Seattle Mariners on July 8, 1994 against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park, becoming the only player to reach the majors at age 18 since the 1970s. He spent less that a month with the Mariners that strike-shortened season, and split time in 1995 between the Mariners and their AAA team in Tacoma. In 1996 he played only two games with Tacoma, and since then has been in the majors full time. He remained with the Mariners through the 2000 season, making three All-Star teams and establishing himself as one of the game's best shortstops and one of its premier offensive players. His first great season was in 1996, when he hit .358 with 36 homers and 123 RBIS, leading the American League in batting average, runs scored (141), doubles (54) and total bases (379). He had his first 40-homer season two years later in 1998, a year he also led the AL with 213 hits.
Prior to the 2001 season, A-Rod signed a 10 year/$252 million contract with the Texas Rangers that made him baseball's highest-paid player. He continued to perform at the highest level with the Rangers, leading the league in home runs all three years and winning his first MVP award in 2003. He also topped 50 homers for the first time in 2001, a total he would reach two more times, in 2002 and 2007.
On February 16, 2004 Rodriguez was traded to the New York Yankees for Alfonso Soriano and a player to be named later (Joaquin Arias). Although he had made his reputation as one of greatest shortstops of his generation, he deferred to Yankee captain (and shortstop) Derek Jeter and accepted a move to third base with the Yankees even though he had won two Gold Gloves as a shortstop while Jeter had won none. While playing in New York he won two additional MVP awards.
In 2005 he broke the Yankees' single-season record for home runs by a right-handed hitter, held for more than 50 years by all-time Yankee great Joe DiMaggio when he hit 48. He raised the record to 54 two years later, in 2007. That season, he tied a record by hitting 12 home runs in his first 15 games.
Despite continuing to achieve extraordinary success in the regular season, A-Rod's postseason performance was disappointing to his fans, batting .279 and slugging .483 with seven home runs in ten postseason series. He gained some measure of infamy during the 2004 ALCS against Boston when he "karate chopped" Boston pitcher Bronson Arroyo, who was tagging him out at first base.
On October 28, 2007, Rodriguez opted out of the 10-year/$252 million deal, thus becoming a free agent again. In November, he re-signed with the Yankees after hearing advice from his friend Warren Buffett, the famous billionaire investor. Agent Scott Boras had encouraged him to ask for much more on the free agent market but Rodriguez did not heed his advice.
On September 3, 2008, a home run he hit to left field off Troy Percival became the first play to be reviewed under MLB's new instant replay rule; Brian Runge's home run call was upheld. He missed the beginning of the 2009 season because of hip surgery, but on August 7th, he became the 9th player in major league history to hit at least 20 home runs in every year in a decade, and the first from the 2000s. He finished the year with 30 homers and 100 RBI, although his batting average slipped to .286, his lowest since 1999. To reach those totals, he had a great final game on October 4th, when he hit a pair of homers and drove in 7 runs in a 10-run 6th inning against the Tampa Bay Rays; the 7 RBI were an American League record, although they fell short by 1 of Fernando Tatis' major league record of 8 RBI in a single inning. That season, he put to rest criticisms about his lack of hitting in the postseason, as he carried the Yankee offense on his shoulders in the first two rounds of the playoffs: he went 5 for 11 with 2 home runs and 6 RBI in the ALDS against the Minnesota Twins, then was 9 for 21 with 2 doubles, 3 homers and 6 RBI in the ALCS against the Los Angeles Angels. He was not as scorching in the World Series, but still contributed 3 doubles, a home run and another 6 RBI in the Yankees' defeat of the Philadelphia Phillies.
A-Rod's quest for 600 homers came true on August 4, 2010 off a 2-0 cutter from Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Shaun Marcum at New Yankee Stadium in the Bronx. He had taken 10 days to hit the milestone homer, but he hit it on the three-year anniversary of his 500th long ball. The constant attention seemed to affect him; it did not help that MLB had decided to introduce specially-numbered baseballs to mark the occasion, with the result that the game was interrupted every time he stepped to the plate in order to change the baseballs, bringing even more attention to his ongoing slump.
Rodriguez's 2011 season was interrupted by surgery on his right knee at the All-Star break; he was hitting .295 with 13 homers and 52 RBI in 80 games at the time and he only returned to the line-up on August 21st. While on the disabled list in August, Rodriguez was involved in another off-field controversy. Stories came out that he had participated in illegal high-stakes poker games where drugs were present and fights may have occurred. MLB decided to investigate the allegations, based on its policy dating back to the Black Sox Scandal to eradicate any potential ties with gambling, and given that it had already warned A-Rod about staying away from such occasions after he was spotted at a poker parlor in New York in 2005. A-Rod vehemently denied the accusations, but a day after his return to the line-up, the New York Post published a story saying he had been spotted the previous week at a high-stakes poker game at the Mohegan Sun casino in Connecticut. He finished the season with the worst numbers of his career - 16 homers and 62 RBI, with a .276 BA in 99 games and was only 2 for 18 in the ALDS as the Yankees were upset by the Detroit Tigers. After the season, on the advice of his friend, NBA superstar Kobe Bryant, he went to Germany for experimental treatment on his right knee receiving Orthokine therapy which involves taking blood from his arm, spinning it in a centrifuge, and then re-injecting it in the area of concern.
The first half of the 2012 season was the healthiest in years for A-Rod, as he played in 94 of the team's first 97 games. However, his production was way down, as he had a .274 batting average, 15 homers and 44 RBI at that point, while batting in the middle of the batting order for a first-place team. He was left off the All-Star team, then on July 24th suffered a freak injury when a change-up by Seattle's Felix Hernandez broke a bone in his left hand, sending him to the disabled list. It capped a bad day for Rodriguez, who had become the 5th player to reach 2,000 career strikeouts earlier in the contest. He was out for six weeks altogether, only returning to the line-up on September 3rd. He finished the season with a .272 average in 122 games, 18 homers and 57 RBI; his RBI total was his lowest since his teenage years. He slumped badly in the ALDS, as the Yankees were involved in a closely-played five-game series with the Baltimore Orioles. He was only 2 for 16, and was benched at two key moments, giving way to pinch-hitter Raul Ibanez with the Yankees down by one run in the 9th inning of Game 3 - Ibanez hit a dramatic game-tying homer - and being left on the bench in favor of Eric Chavez in the decisive Game 5. After going 1 for 7 in the first two games of the ALCS - both losses at home to the Detroit Tigers -, he was benched again for Game 3. What made things worse was that he had been seen flirting with female fans in the stands during Game 1, which the Yankees lost in extra innings. By then, he was the favorite target of boo-birds at New Yankee Stadium. The benchings and the poor play led to speculation that the Yankees may look to trade him in the off-season, with the Miami Marlins being mentioned as a possible destination - although the Yankees would have needed to eat a large portion of his huge contract to make such a trade happen.
No trade happened in the early days of the 2012-2013 off-season, and then more bad news hit on December 3rd when it was announced that Rodriguez had a hip tear and would need to undergo surgery on January 16th, which was likely to sideline him for the first half of the 2013 season at a minimum. It was the worst possible news for the Yankees, as they remained on the hook for his salary, needed to find a short-term replacement at third base, and had no guarantee that he would be a productive hitter when he returned. They signed veteran 3B Kevin Youkilis to a one-year contract a few days later to ensure they would at least have a major league-caliber hitter to play the hot corner. Indeed, a few days after the surgery, GM Brian Cashman stated publicly that there was a chance A-Rod would miss the entire season "because (of) the serious nature of the surgery and the condition that he's trying to recover from". If things weren't bad enough for him, his name turned up in another PED-related matter, the Biogenesis Laboratories affair (see below), at the end of that month, prompting more speculation of an early retirement. This was immediately denied by persons close to him who added that Alex was "working diligently on his rehabilitation and [...] looking forward to getting back on the field as soon as possible". It then emerged that the Yankees were not so eager to see him return to action: on June 26th, he announced that he had received clearance from doctors to start playing ball again. That did not go well with Cashman, who reacted by stating "Alex should just shut the (expletive) up. That's it. I'm going to call Alex now", fueling speculation that the Yankees had unsuccessfully tried to convince A-Rod to call it a career in order for them to cash in the insurance on his huge contract, and that they were not pleased at all that he was planning on playing again. Instead, Alex began a rehabilitation assignment with the Class A Charleston RiverDogs on July 2nd. Just after the All-Star break, the Yankees announced he would be back in New York's line-up on July 22nd. But plans changed a day before he was set to return, as he went down again with a left quadriceps strain, delaying his return until at least the end of July. The injury report came out of the blue, and led to more speculation that the Yankees simply did not want to see A-Rod suit up again, even though in his absence the team's fill-in third basemen had posted the worst OPS in the majors at the position. Indeed, A-Rod claimed he was not injured and went back to New York to seek a second opinion to buttress his claim. Physician Michael L. Gross stated publicly two days later: "To be perfectly honest, I don't see any sort of injury there," hinting that the Yankees were trying to commit insurance fraud. Cashman then gave the soap opera another twist by stating that A-Rod's going to an outside specialist constituted a violation of his contract.
While this was going on, the Biogenesis scandal was hitting full steam, and Rodriguez was sent for another rehabilitation stint, this time with the AA Trenton Thunder, starting on August 2nd. He got some attention focused on his playing for a change by hitting a long two-run homer off Jesse Biddle in his first game. He finally returned to the Yankees line-up on August 5th, which was ironically the day MLB announced he was being suspended for his involvement in the Biogenesis scandal. Because A-Rod immediately announced he was appealing the suspension, he was able to play that same day against the Chicago White Sox; he was booed mercilessly as he went 1 for 4 in an 8-1 Yankees loss. He finally received some ink for baseball reasons on August 11th when he hit his first homer of the year off Justin Verlander of the Tigers; the accompanying RBI was number 1,951 for Alex, moving him past Stan Musial into 5th place on the all-time list. On August 18th, he was hit by a pitch from Ryan Dempster in the 2nd inning of a game against the Red Sox in what was clearly seen as a gesture of displeasure with his involvement with PEDs; Rodriguez replied by hitting a homer in the 6th. On September 20th, he became the all-time leader for grand slams, passing former Yankee great Lou Gehrig. He ended his season a few games early, missing the Yankees' last series because of soreness in his legs. In 44 games, he had hit .244 with 7 homers and 19 RBIs. He then focused on the appeal of his suspension, as the hearings on the matter were scheduled to start on September 30th at MLB's offices in New York.
However more soap opera followed shortly after the season ended, when Rodriguez filed a lawsuit against Commissioner Bud Selig and other MLB officials, accusing them of engaging in a "witch hunt" against him. After keeping relatively quiet during the postseason, the day after the 2013 World Series ended he resumed exchanging barbs in the media, through his lawyers, with MLB counsel and future Commissioner Rob Manfred. His lawyer stated that Manfred "persistently attacks Alex's character with baseless, cowardly allegations", while Manfred replied that "Mr. Rodriguez's use of PEDs was longer and more pervasive than any other player, and when this process is complete, the facts will prove that it is Mr. Rodriguez and his representatives who have engaged in ongoing, gross misconduct." On November 20th, he stormed out of the hearings with arbitrator Fredric Horowitz in New York City, calling the whole process "abusive". He was expressing his displeasure because Horowitz had refused to force Commissioner Selig to testify. His lawyers then amended his statement of claim, adding Selig's refusal to appear at the hearing as another ground for grievance. Horowitz issued his ruling on January 11, 2014, reducing the suspension from 211 games to 162, or the full 2014 season and postseason. On January 13th, Rodriguez filed a lawsuit in federal court in Manhattan against MLB and the Major League Baseball Players Association seeking to have the suspension overturned. However, in a major turnaround, he decided to drop the lawsuit on February 7th, in order to serve his suspension and attempt a comeback in 2015; he also decided not to attend spring training, even though he would have been allowed to, as his presence would have been a huge distraction for the Yankees while serving little athletic purpose.
The suspension ended after the 2014 season, and the Yankees were planning to give him a chance to play, although in December, GM Cashman mentioned that he was being looked at as a designated hitter, and no longer as a third baseman, after re-signing 3B Chase Headley, acquired during A-Rod's suspension, to a lucrative four-year contract. There was the expected media scramble when he showed in spring training, two days ahead of schedule. He then began working out at first base, given the Yankees were concerned about Mark Teixeira's health. He was in the Yankees' opening day line-up on April 6th, starting at DH and hitting 7th against the Toronto Blue Jays; he hit his first homer in two years on April 9th, a solo shot off Toronto's Daniel Norris in a 6-3 loss. He quickly found his stroke to become one of the offensive leaders of the Yankees, who were able to battle for first place in the AL East, contrary to what had happened in his absence. His numbers at mid-season could have made him an All-Star, although he was passed over in favor of Nelson Cruz and Prince Fielder as the AL's DH. On July 25th, he had a three-homer game against the Minnesota Twins, keying a comeback from a 5-0 deficit. His third homer, off Glen Perkins in the 9th, tied the score at 5, and teammate John Ryan Murphy gave the Yankees an 8-5 win with a three-run homer later that inning. On July 27th, he joined the small club of players to have homered on their 40th birthday when he went deep off Matt Harrison of the Texas Rangers in a 6-2 Yankees win. That long ball also made him only the 4th player to homer before turning 20 and after turning 40, following Ty Cobb, Rusty Staub and Gary Sheffield. On August 18th, he added to his record for grand slams by belting the 25th of his career in an 8-4 win over the Twins. He slowed down some in the last month and a half and finished the season with a .250 average, 33 homers and 90 RBIs, very good numbers given his age and the fact he had missed a full year and was struggling badly the year before. However, he was silenced in the Wild Card Game against the Houston Astros, going 0 for 4 with a pair of strikeouts.
During spring training in 2016, he mentioned that he was considering retirement after the following season. It was not a huge surprise given he was going to turn 41 during the present season, but journalists were wary of taking him at his word, given he had changed in mind on a number of other matters before. On April 24th, he had to leave a game in the 6th inning because of a strained oblique muscle; the Yankees were very concerned and had him undergo an MRI immediately, bracing themselves for a long absence. However, it was just a scare, as A-Rod was back in the line-up after missing only two games. However, on May 4th, he was indeed placed on the DL, because of a strained hamstring muscle. He had been one of the most productive hitters on a team struggling to score runs. He came back on May 26th and he struggled badly at first, with his batting average falling as low as .170 on May 29th. He hit slightly better in June, bring his average back to the .220s, but with only 2 homers during the month. That is when manager Joe Girardi began to bench him against righthanded pitchers, against whom he was batting only .200. The move was also aimed at improving the team's defense, as RF Carlos Beltran replaced him at DH with Aaron Hicks getting to play the outfield. By the end of July, though, he was back to hitting .210 and Girardi benched him for a full week as the Yankees were trying to claw their way back into the postseason picture. He did not help his cause when, in his first game back in the starting line-up on July 30th, he got to wear the so-called Golden Sombrero, striking out four times in a 6-3 loss to the Rays. There were now calls for A-Rod to be released based on his inability to produce anymore, these getting louder as the Yankees were now clearly in reconstruction mode, having traded three stars - Beltran, Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman at the trading deadline. Rodriguez expressed a quiet and serene resignation when asked about that possibility: "I know that the organization has a brighter future today than it did last week. Hopefully I’m part of that equation. But if not, I can accept it very clearly." He was only four home runs away from being the third player to reach 700 for his career, which was a possible incentive for the Yankees to keep him on board at least until he reached that milestone. Speculation about his future increased when the Yankees called a press conference for August 7th, only a couple of days after teammate Mark Teixeira had announced he would be retiring at the end of the year. At the conference, he did announce his retirement, stating that his last game would be on August 12th. He was to be given his unconditional release as a player after the game and to fulfill the remainder of his contract as a special adviser and instructor with the team. His last week with the Yankees was no glamorous farewell tour, however, as Joe Girardi kept him largely confined to the bench, his only commitment to the declining superstar being that he would get to start at DH on his final day with the team. This did not sit well with a number of reporters, who thought that A_Rod, for all his flaws, deserved a more dignified exit. Thus, when Alex was unsuccessful in a pinch-hitting appearance against the Red Sox on August 10th, it was his first appearance in a game since August 2nd. He finally got to start a game on his penultimate day with the team, August 11th, as the DH and clean-up hitter facing Eduardo Rodriguez of the Red Sox; he went 0 for 4 but did collect an RBI in the 4-2 win, although it came on a dribbler that barely traveled 15 feet. In his final game, against the Rays, he hit a 1st-inning RBI double off Chris Archer for his final big league hit, then made outs in last three at-bats. The Yankees won the game, 6-3, and in the top of the 9th, Girardi let him play third base for one final time, although he left after the first out without any fielding chance. He ended the season at an even .200 with 9 homers and 31 RBIs in 65 games.
As soon as Rodriguez ended his playing career with the Yankees however, there was speculation that he may try to come back with another team. After all, he had never said formally that he was "retiring", simply that he was going to play his last game for the Yankees. There was again some speculation that his hometown Marlins could be interested in adding him, given the important publicity that would be attached to his chase for 700 homers. His checkered history would not likely be a problem, given they now had the disgraced Barry Bonds as their hitting coach, and owner Jeffrey Loria, a personal friend, had a history of bringing in players on their last legs for a last hurrah, such as Tim Raines or Ichiro Suzuki. However, his poor 2016 season, and his vanished ability to play the field seemed to militate against such a development, but speculation was still rife, especially after it was learned that Marlins RF Giancarlo Stanton was likely done for the season because of a serious groin injury. In any case, as September was winding down, he began the next phase of his career by serving as an instructor for Yankees players in the Florida Instructional League. In 2017, he came to the Yankees' spring training to serve as a special guest instructor.
Statistical Markers and Notes
While universally regarded as one of the best players in baseball, it is interesting to note that both teams that he has left have performed better the first year after he departed than they did during his final season with them. He has however played regularly in the postseason, contrary to the idea that circulated at one point that his offensive production was somehow a detriment to his teams' success.
He reached the 400 home run level at the age of 30, a rare achievement, then became the youngest player to hit 500 home runs when he connected off Kyle Davies of the Kansas City Royals on August 4, 2007; Jimmie Foxx had been the fastest to 500 HR before Rodriguez. He also became the third player to reach the 500 plateau as a Yankee, after Babe Ruth and Mickey Mantle. He was still the youngest to do so when he hit number 600 in 2010, but injuries began to slow down his progression up the all-time ladder at that point.
He is one of only four 40/40 players in Major League Baseball history (i.e. hitting 40 or more home runs and stealing 40 or more bases in a season), along with Jose Canseco, Barry Bonds and Alfonso Soriano.
As a mark of how extraordinary a player A-Rod is, the similarity scores method shows virtually no player similar to him. No player has a score as high as 800 out of 1000, the highest being Manny Ramirez at 799. Eight of the ten players on the list at his age are Hall of Famers, and the other two (Ken Griffey and Sammy Sosa) were huge stars who stand an excellent chance of election - or in Sosa,s case, would if it were not for allegations of PED use, something likely to derail A-Rod's own Hall of Fame case.
On June 12, 2012, Alex tied a mark held by Lou Gehrig when he hit the 23rd grand slam of his career, off the Atlanta Braves' Jonny Venters in the 8th inning of a 6-4 Yankees win. He passed Gehrig with his 24th grand slam on September 20, 2013, in the 7th inning, off George Kontos of the San Francisco Giants, giving the Yankees a 5-1 win.
Rodriguez had held the record for signing the largest contract in major league history starting with his 2001 deal with the Texas Rangers, which was worth $252 million over 10 years; he upped the ante in 2006 when his renegotiated extension came out at $275 million for ten years. This figure was not topped until 2014, when Miguel Cabrera signed an eight-year extension which coupled with the two years remaining on his contract, amounted to $290 million. Prior to A-Rod's long reign as the record holder, the title changed hands virtually every year.
On May 1, 2015, he hit home run #660 of his career against the Boston Red Sox, tying him with Willie Mays for fourth on the all-time list. It came in an unfamiliar role, as he was sent up to pinch-hit for Garrett Jones with the score tied at 2 in the 8th. He lofted a 3-0 pitch from Junichi Tazawa over the Green Monster to give the Yankees their winning margin. Until then, he had been 1 for 16 as a pinch-hitter for his career. When he had signed his latest contract extension, the Yankees had included large bonus clauses to be paid when he hit certain milestone homers, starting with number 660 and all the way to #763, which would make him baseball's all-time home run leader; this was based on the idea that the team would conduct big marketing campaigns around these events, a premise that was completely upended by A-Rod's steroid troubles. It was unclear what would happen to these planned bonuses now that the first milestone had been reached in a climate of near-total indifference around the baseball world. It took a while, but on July 3rd, the two sides agreed to a compromise, with the Yankees giving $3.5 million to charity in lieu of paying the bonus due to A-Rod up to that point.
On May 28, 2015 mlb.com announced that he had tied Barry Bonds for second on the all-time RBI list with 1,996. There was a fundamental problem with that assertion, however as the site used statistics from the Elias Sports Bureau which did not count RBIs collected before 1920, when it became an official statistic, therefore leaving Babe Ruth (2,214) and Cap Anson (2,075) off the list. A day earlier, when mlb.com had announced that Alex had passed Lou Gehrig on the same list, it was also based on numbers not generally recognized by the baseball research community: Elias credited Gehrig with 1,993 career RBIs, while sources using the most recent research, including the exhaustive review of all of Gehrig's RBIs conducted by Herm Krabbenhoft, gave him a total of 1,995. In any case, the milestone passed with minimal recognition around baseball, as had his 660th home run four weeks earlier. The next mark to fall was A-Rod's 2,000th RBI, which came on June 13th on a two-run homer in a 9-4 loss to the Baltimore Orioles.
The homer brought Alex to within 5 hits of 3,000, another mark that would normally have been cause for widespread celebration around baseball, but which was set, once again, in relative anonymity. He became the 29th member of the club on June 19th, with a 1st-inning homer off Justin Verlander of the Detroit Tigers. The last player before him to reach the milestone had been his teammate Derek Jeter in 2011, also with a home run. Wade Boggs had been the only other to get number 3,000 with a long ball. In a strange twist, the home plate umpire during the game, Ed Hickox, had been in the same position when A-Rod had his first hit for the Mariners as an 18-year-old in 1994. The Yankees at first did not put on a special celebration to mark the feat, but then turned around and announced they would put on a ceremony for him on September 13th. What had changed was that A-Rod had managed to gain some respect by playing well, keeping a low profile and helping the team play better than it had in a number of seasons with his solid contribution at the plate. On September 8th, he hit his 30th home run of the season, tying Hank Aaron's record of 15 seasons of 30 or more homers.
The final target for him to reach was 700 homers, a total only Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron and Barry Bonds had ever attained and he seemed he had a good chance to do so as he headed into the 2016 season 13 shy of the mark, with two years left on his contract. But he never got going that season, and after hitting 9 homers, he was benched extensively starting in early July until announcing his retirement in August, 4 homers shy of the number. He finished with 3115 hits, 2086 RBIs and 696 homers.
Rodriguez has a half-brother, Victor Rodriguez, Jr., who is a decorated Colonel in the United States Air Force.
Because the heart of A-Rod's career took place in the steroid era that started in the mid-1990s and since he was one of the premier power hitters in baseball during the period, it was inevitable that talk of PED use would be associated with him. In his case, however, this talk turned out to be much more than mere rumors and innuendos and would end up putting his career accomplishments into doubt.
The first significant accusation came in the book Juiced written by Jose Canseco in 2007, in which the retired slugger claimed he had introduced Rodriguez to a steroids distributor but didn't state that Rodriguez had bought anything.
In December 2007, Katie Couric of CBS' Sixty Minutes interviewed A-Rod about performance-enhancing drugs, among other topics. He then stated that he had never taken any performance-enhancing substance, nor had felt pressure to take any because some of his peers may have been.
In February 2009, Sports Illustrated broke the news that A-Rod had tested positive for steroids in 2003, at a time when there were no penalties for a positive test. These tests were supposed to remain anonymous and eventually destroyed, but their results were subpoenaed as part of the BALCO case, and apparently leaked to the media by a source close to that investigation. Rodriguez confirmed in an interview with ESPN's Peter Gammons that he had used performance-enhancing drugs from 2001-2003 while a member of the Texas Rangers, adding "I was young, I was stupid, I was naive, and I wanted to prove to everyone that I was worth . . . being one of the greatest players of all time. I did take a banned substance and for that I am very sorry and deeply regretful." When these allegations came out, a number of papers and fans began to call Rodriguez A-Fraud, a play on his more famous nickname reflecting their contempt for his actions.
In May of 2009, with Rodriguez sidelined by a hip injury, journalist Selena Roberts published a biography of Rodriguez which alleged that he has been a PED user since high school. The allegations were not sourced, and long-standing friends of Rodriguez, such as Doug Mientkiewicz, who knew him when they were both teenagers, went on the record to contradict the book's allegations.
More trouble came up on January 29, 2013, when the Miami New Times reported that his name was found along with those of six other major leaguers in an investigation of Anthony Bosch, owner of the recently closed Biogenesis Laboratories in Coral Gables, FL, suspected of having supplied performance-enhancing drugs. Three of the names of the list were those of players who had been suspended for PED use by MLB over the past year - Bartolo Colon, Melky Cabrera and Yasmani Grandal - making the allegations more credible. Rodriguez immediately denied the allegations through a spokesperson: "The news report about a purported relationship between Alex Rodriguez and Anthony Bosch are not true. Alex Rodriguez was not Mr. Bosch's patient, he was never treated by him and he was never advised by him. The purported documents referenced in the story - at least as they relate to Alex Rodriguez - are not legitimate." However, the news fueled more speculation that the Yankees were seeking a way to get out of their financial obligations under Rodriguez's huge contract, by either voiding it or convincing A-Rod to retire. More bad news hit three days later when ESPN reported that Rodriguez had been receiving weekly injections at home from Bosch, while the Miami New Times added that he had agreed to pay a monthly fee of $12,000 for the service. A-Rod continued to deny all allegations through a spokesman but the scandal was not one that was to be easily swept aside.
On July 22nd, after Ryan Braun and MLB reached an agreement on a suspension that Braun would not contest, attention next turned to A-Rod's case, in the form of unsubstantiated leaks indicating that MLB had obtained a large amount of evidence indicating he had been a client of Biogenesis for two years, had lied to its officials, and had tried to sabotage the investigation. As a result, there was wide speculation in the media that Commissioner Selig was prepared to invoke a lifetime ban against Rodriguez. Meanwhile, A-Rod's agent indicated that he was not prepared to waive his client's right to due process. When the suspension came down on August 5th, it was for the remainder of 2013 and the 2014 regular season, pending appeal. Before the appeal could be heard, more damaging information leaked out, as on August 16th, 60 Minutes reported that Rodriguez had leaked the names of suspended teammate Francisco Cervelli and that of Braun to investigators in the case. He immediately denied the allegations, but they further damaged his reputation among fans and fellow players. When his suspension was reduced from 211 games to 162 after his appeal to arbitrator Fredric Horowitz, A-Rod was not satisfied, as he continued to deny the allegations and stated he would appeal in federal court. It should be noted that Horowitz found "clear and convincing evidence" that Rodriguez had used three banned substances and twice tried to obstruct baseball's drug investigation, so the reduction in the suspension's length was not a whitewash in any sense. For its part, the Players Association stated that it "strongly disagreed" with the ruling but would not dispute it further as it was reached through an agreed process.
He did sue MLB and various other parties, but dropped the lawsuit and agreed to serve his suspension covering the entire 2014 season. Even then, though, Alex continued to gather headlines. In July, Sports Illustrated published excerpts from a forthcoming book claiming that A-Rod had benefited form a therapeutic exemption for testosterone in 2007, the year he won his third MVP Award, insinuating that higher-ups were well aware that he was a user of substances that are normally banned but allowed it to go on. Major League Baseball responded with a statement that exemptions are granted after review by independent medical experts, with no input from either the Commissioner's office or the Players Association, and that such exemptions are exceedingly rare. In another bit of soap opera, it was revealed on July 14th that Rodriguez was being sued by one of his lawyers, David Cornwell, claiming $380,000 in unpaid legal bills, plus interest and attorney fees, stemming from his unsuccessful fight against his suspension.
His suspension ended after the 2014 World Series, and he immediately made headlines again, this time because information leaked out that he had paid some $900,000 in "hush money" to Yuri Sucart, a cousin who had facilitated his PED use, to make sure he did not tell anyone, and then that he had confessed to Drug Enforcement Administration officials that he had indeed been a regular user of PEDs. Of course, he was facing a possible jail sentence if he lied to them, and had already been punished by MLB for his various transgressions. The question was now how much of a detriment to the team would be his presence with the Yankees in spring training in 2015 and the inevitable side-show that was sure to ensue. These new revelations prompted reporters to once again call for a lifetime ban on A-Rod. On February 10, 2015, A-Rod and his legal counsel met with owner Hank Steinbrenner, GM Chapman and other members of the Yankees' top brass in order to clear the air. After the meeting the participants issued a statement saying: "There was an honest and frank discussion on all of the issues. As far as the Yankees are concerned, the next step is to play baseball in spring training." However, Alex declined the Yankees' suggestion of holding a press conference in order to clear the air with the fans, and instead issued a written five-paragraph apology "for the mistakes that led to my suspension", although it was maddeningly short on specifics.
Rodriguez gave concrete evidence in July 2016 that he was back on good terms with MLB and the Players Association when he announced that the three were jointly funding a youth baseball and softball academy in the Bronx, part of the Urban Youth Academy project. Rodriguez's contribution was $750,000 to the total budget of $11.25 million to be located in Roberto Clemente State Park. In return for his participation, the main baseball field in the complex would be named "Alex Rodriguez Field".
Rodriguez was listed as one of Business Insider magazine's 19 most eligible bachelors in December 2011, with a net worth of $300 million. The magazine also confirmed that he's a savvy art collector. Shortly thereafter, on November 2, 2002, he married Cynthia Scurtis of Miami. However, the marriage ended in divorce in July of 2008 among accusations of infidelity and "other marital misconduct" leveled at A-Rod, the allegations pointing at a relationship with pop star Madonna. The couple had two children, Ella (b. 2003) and Natasha (b. 2005). Alex then had relationships with actresses Kate Hudson in 2009 and Cameron Diaz in 2010-2011 and was later seen with former model and professional wrestler Torrie Wilson.
- 14-time AL All-Star (1996-1998, 2000-2008, 2010 & 2011)
- 3-time AL MVP (2003, 2005 & 2007)
- 2-time AL Gold Glove Winner (2002/SS & 2003/SS)
- 10-time AL Silver Slugger Award Winner (1996/SS, 1998-2003/SS, 2005/3B, 2007/3B & 2008/3B)
- AL Batting Average Leader (1996)
- 4-time AL Slugging Percentage Leader (2003, 2005, 2007 & 2008)
- 2-time AL OPS Leader (2005 & 2007)
- AL At Bats Leader (1998)
- 5-time AL Runs Scored Leader (1996, 2001, 2003, 2005 & 2007)
- AL Hits Leader (1998)
- 4-time AL Total Bases Leader (1996, 2001, 2002 & 2007)
- AL Doubles Leader (2002)
- 5-time AL Home Runs Leader (2001-2003, 2005 & 2007)
- 2-time AL RBI Leader (2002 & 2007)
- 20-Home Run Seasons: 16 (1996-2010 & 2015)
- 30-Home Run Seasons: 15 (1996, 1998-2010 & 2015)
- 40-Home Run Seasons: 7 (1998-2003, 2005 & 2007)
- 50-Home Run Seasons: 3 (2001, 2002 & 2007)
- 100 RBI Seasons: 14 (1996 & 1998-2010)
- 100 Runs Scored Seasons: 13 (1996-2008)
- 200 Hits Seasons: 3 (1996, 1998 & 2001)
- Won a World Series with the New York Yankees in 2009
|Miguel Tejada||Alex Rodriguez||Vladimir Guerrero|
|Vladimir Guerrero||Alex Rodriguez||Justin Morneau|
|Justin Morneau||Alex Rodriguez||Dustin Pedroia|
- Youngest player to hit 300 Home Runs (27 years, 249 days)
- Youngest player to hit 400 Home Runs (29 years, 316 days)
- Youngest player to hit 500 Home Runs (32 years, 8 days)
- Youngest player to hit 600 Home Runs (35 years, 8 days)
- Home runs, shortstop, season, 57, 2002
- Home runs, third baseman, season, 52, 2007
- Grand slams, career, 24
- Seasons with 100 or more RBI, 14
- Consecutive seasons with 30 or more home runs, 13 (tied)
- Most home runs in 2000s, 435
Sources and Further Reading
- Ted Berg: "Alex Rodriguez was the best player of his generation, and he'll have my Hall of Fame vote", "For the Win!", USA Today Sports, August 8, 2016. 
- Barry M. Bloom: "A-Rod takes modest route in twilight of career: Slugger seeks positive finish with 2 years left on contract", mlb.com, February 25, 2016. 
- Jack Curry: "Matching Pinstripes with Camouflage", in The New York Times, September 4, 2007, p. D1. 
- Tim Elfrink and Gus Garcia-Roberts: Blood Sport: Alex Rodriguez, Biogenesis and the Quest to End Baseball's Steroid Era, Dutton, Penguin Books, New York, NY, 2014. ISBN 978-0525954637
- Chad Jennings: "A-Rod 'at peace' with possibility of being released by Yankees", "The Lohud Yankees Blog", USA Today Sports, August 2, 2016. 
- Bob Klapisch: "Alex Rodriguez bows out gracefully, so let's hope it sticks", USA Today Sports, August 7, 2016. 
- Bob Klapisch: "Despite missteps, A-Rod deserves better from Joe Girardi in farewell", USA Today Sports, August 11, 2016. 
- Cash Kruth: "A-Rod to play final game on Friday, become advisor for Yanks: 22-year playing career will end with fourth-most homers in Major League history", mlb.com, August 7, 2016. 
- Howard Megdal: "A-Rod's comeback tour a gift that keeps on giving", USA Today Sports, January 20, 2015. 
- J.R. Moehringer: "The Education of Alex Rodriguez", ESPN: The Magazine, February 18, 2015. 
- Maureen Mullen: "Alex Rodriguez's redemption tour in full swing", USA Today Sports, July 16, 2015. 
- Maureen Mullen: "Alex Rodriguez's 'awesome' rivalry with Boston coming to an end", USA Today Sports, August 9, 2016. 
- Bob Nightengale: "No reality show can top A-Rod saga", USA Today Sports, November 5, 2014. 
- Bob Nightengale: "Alex Rodriguez basks in his renewal: I never knew I could feel like this", USA Today Sports, February 22, 2016. 
- Bob Nightengale: "Alex Rodriguez retiring? Like all things A-Rod, believe it when you see it", USA Today Sports, March 24, 2016. 
- Selena Roberts: A-Rod: the Many lives of Alex Rodriguez, Harper Collins Publishers, New York, NY, 2009. ISBN 0061791644