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From BR Bullpen
Alexander Emmanuel Rodríguez
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 3", Weight 190-225 lb.
- Debut July 8, 1994
- High School Westminster Christian High School
- Born July 27 1975 in New York, NY USA
 Biographical Information
Alex Rodriguez, often called A-Rod, is one of the biggest stars in major league baseball. Having played his first Major League game at age 18, he has 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.
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 PCL, hitting .360 with a .654 slugging percentage.
 Major League Career
Rodriguez made his Major League debut with the Seattle Mariners on July 8, 1994 at Boston, becoming the only player to reach the majors at age 18 since the 1970s. He spent less that a month with the Mariners that season, and split time in 1995 between the Mariners and their AAA team in Tacoma. In 1996 he spent 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.
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.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 has 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. In April 2007, 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. 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 upon review. He missed the beginning of the 2009 season because of hip surgery, but on August 7, 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 finale 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 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. Orthokine therapy 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 need 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 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".
 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.
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.
Rodriguez has a half-brother, Victor Rodriguez, Jr., who is a decorated Colonel in the United States Air Force.
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 a recently closed clinic 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 sue by MLB over the past year - Bartolo Colon, Melky Cabrera and Yasmani Grandal - making the allegations more credible. Rodriguez imnmediately 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.
 Bachelor of Note
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 confirms that he's a savvy art collector.
 Notable Achievements
- 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: 15 (1996-2010)
- 30-Home Run Seasons: 14 (1996 & 1998-2010)
- 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|
 Records Held
- 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, 23 (tied)
- 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
- Jack Curry: "Matching Pinstripes with Camouflage", in The New York Times, September 4, 2007, p. D1.
- Selena Roberts: A-Rod: the Many lives of Alex Rodriguez, Harper Collins Publishers, New York, NY, 2009.