See biography by S. Roberts (2009).
Alexander Emmanuel Rodriguez (born July 27, 1975 in New York, New York), commonly nicknamed A-Rod, is an American third baseman for the New York Yankees. He is best known as a power-hitting third baseman for the New York Yankees baseball club, after having played shortstop for the Seattle Mariners and Texas Rangers. Since , his first full season, through he leads Major League Baseball in home runs (HR), runs scored, runs batted in (RBI), total bases and extra-base hits. He is currently first in runs scored and total bases; second in extra base hits and RBI, and 4th in hits among all players in baseball history prior to their 31st birthday. In addition, to this point in his career Rodriguez has more HR, RBI, runs scored and more base hits than all-time leaders Hank Aaron (RBI), Barry Bonds (HR), Rickey Henderson (runs scored), and Pete Rose (hits) did prior to their 31st birthdays. He is the youngest player ever to hit 500 home runs, breaking the record Jimmie Foxx set in 1939. He is also the youngest player in Major League history to hit for the cycle at 21 years old.
He has been cited as among the best all-around players currently in baseball.
On October 28, 2007, Rodriguez, at the recommendation of his agent, opted out of the final three years of his contract with the Yankees. On December 13, 2007, Rodriguez announced the signing of a new 10-year contract with the Yankees, reportedly worth $275 million and $30 million more if he breaks the all-time home run record of 762, making it the richest contract in baseball history.
Rodriguez then split most of between the Mariners and their AAA club, the Tacoma Rainiers. He connected for his 1st major league home run off Kansas City's Tom Gordon on June 12. Rodriguez joined the major league roster permanently in August, and got his first taste of postseason play, albeit in just two at-bats. Again, he was the youngest player in baseball.
He was selected by both The Sporting News and Associated Press as the Major League Player of the Year, and came close to becoming the youngest MVP (Most Valuable Player) in baseball history, finishing second to Juan González in one of the most controversial MVP elections in recent times. He finished three points behind González (290-287), matching the 2nd closest A.L. MVP voting in history.
Rodriguez rebounded in , setting the AL record for homers by a shortstop and becoming just the third member of the 40-40 Club, (with 42 HR and 46 SB) and one of just 3 shortstops in history to hit 40 home runs in a season.
He was selected as Players Choice AL Player of the Year, won his 2nd Silver Slugger Award and finished in the top 10 in the MVP voting.
He followed that with a major league-best 57 HR, 142 RBI and 389 total bases in , becoming the first player to lead the majors in all three categories since 1984. He had the 6th-most home runs in AL history, the most since Roger Maris' league record 61 in 1961, and the most ever for a shortstop for the 2nd straight year while also winning his first Gold Glove Award, awarded for outstanding defense.
His 109 home runs in -02 are the most ever by an American League right-handed batter in consecutive seasons. However, the Rangers finished last in the AL Western division in both years, a showing that likely cost Rodriguez the MVP award in 2002 when he finished second to fellow shortstop Miguel Tejada, whose 103-win Oakland A's won the same division.
Following five top-10 finishes in the AL Most Valuable Player voting between 1996 and 2002, Rodriguez won his first MVP trophy. A-Rod, a two-time runner up in the balloting by the Baseball Writers Association of America, joined outfielder Andre Dawson from the Chicago Cubs as the only players to play on last-place teams and win the award.
Following the 2003 season, Texas set out to move Rodriguez and his expensive contract. The Rangers agreed to a trade with the Boston Red Sox, but the MLBPA (Major League Baseball Players Association) vetoed the deal because it called for a voluntary reduction in salary by Rodriguez. Despite the failed deal with the Red Sox, the Rangers named him team captain during that off-season. This designation did not last long, however, as the New York Yankees had taken notice of the sudden trade availability of Rodriguez.
On February 15, 2004, Rodriguez was successfully traded to the New York Yankees for second baseman Alfonso Soriano and a player to be named later (Joaquín Árias was named as that player on March 24). The Rangers agreed to pay $67 million of the $179 million left on Rodriguez's contract. Rodriguez agreed to switch positions from shortstop to third base, paving the way for the trade, because the popular Derek Jeter was already entrenched at shortstop. Rodriguez also had to switch uniform numbers, from 3 to 13; he had worn 3 his entire career, but that number is retired by the Yankees in honor of Babe Ruth.
In the 2004 ALDS, Rodriguez was a dominant hitter against the Minnesota Twins, batting .421 and slugging .737 while delivering two key extra-inning hits. Following the series win, Rodriguez's first season with the Yankees culminated in a dramatic playoff series against the team he had almost ended up playing for: the Yankees' bitter rival, the Boston Red Sox. In that series (ALCS) he equaled the single-game post-season record with five runs scored in Game 3 at Boston.
One of the most controversial plays of Rodriguez's career occurred late in Game 6 of the 2004 ALCS (American League Championship Series). With one out and Derek Jeter on first base in the bottom of the eighth inning, Rodriguez hit a slow roller between the pitcher's mound and the first base line. Red Sox pitcher Bronson Arroyo fielded the ball and ran towards Rodriguez to apply a tag. As Arroyo reached towards him, Rodriguez swatted at his glove, knocking the ball loose. As the ball rolled away, Jeter scored all the way from first as Rodriguez took second on the play, which was initially ruled an error on Arroyo. However, the umpires quickly huddled, then ruled that Rodriguez was out for interference. Jeter was sent back to first base, his run nullified. The Yankees wound up losing 4-2. Rodriguez's behavior, perceived as unprofessional, inspired much derision from Red Sox fans.
An offensive highlight of his season came on April 26, when Rodriguez hit 3 HR off Angels' pitcher Bartolo Colón and drove in 10 runs. The 10 RBIs were the most by a Yankee since Tony Lazzeri established the franchise and American League record with 11 on 5/24/36. Rodriguez won his second AL MVP Award in three seasons.
He became the fifth player to win an MVP award (or its precursor 'League Award') with two different teams, joining Mickey Cochrane, Jimmie Foxx, Frank Robinson and Barry Bonds. Rodriguez was also named the shortstop on the Major League Baseball Latino Legends Team in 2005.
Rodriguez was again an All-Star in , and was 4th in the league in RBI (121), 5th in runs (113), 8th in home runs (35) and walks (90), and 9th in OBP (.392). He also led all AL third basemen in errors, with 24, and had the lowest fielding percentage (.937) and -- for the third straight season -- range factor (2.50) among them. Rodriguez's 2,000th hit, on July 21, 2006, was also his 450th home run. Six days shy of his 31st birthday, Rodriguez became the youngest player in baseball history to reach 450 home runs (surpassing Ken Griffey, Jr. by 267 days). He also became the 8th player to reach 2,000 hits before turning 31. Ty Cobb reached the mark while still 29, while Rogers Hornsby, Mel Ott, Hank Aaron, Joe Medwick, Jimmie Foxx, and Robin Yount all got their 2,000th hits at age 30. All 7 of the players are members of baseball's Hall of Fame. Rodriguez also became the 2nd player in Major League history to have at least 35 home runs, 100 runs, and 100 RBI in 9 consecutive seasons joining Jimmie Foxx. 2006 was Alex's 11th consecutive season with more than 100 runs scored, the longest such streak in American League history since Lou Gehrig did it in 13 straight seasons (1926-38). Despite this success, it was one of his lesser seasons and was harshly criticized throughout the 2006 season. He has said that 2006 was his most difficult season as a professional. Prior to the season Rodriguez opted to play for team USA in the World Baseball Classic.
In the Yankees' fourth game of the season, Rodriguez hit two home runs against the Baltimore Orioles at Yankee Stadium, including his 14th-career grand slam to end the game. The walk-off grand slam was the third of his career, tying the major league mark for game-ending grand slams shared by Vern Stephens and Cy Williams. Rodriguez also began the season by becoming the ninth major leaguer--and first Yankee--to hit six home runs in the first seven games of the season. Rodriguez also became the first Yankee to hit seven home runs in the first ten games of the season.
On April 19, the Yankees came from behind to defeat the Cleveland Indians 8-6—with Rodriguez hitting a walk-off home run. WCBS Yankees radio broadcaster noted that Rodriguez had a better frame of mind, and the fans were beginning to accept him more after his two walk-off home runs. On April 23, Rodriguez became the first player in major league history to hit 14 home runs in a span of 18 games, and also tied the MLB record for most home runs in April. His total of 34 RBIs in April was 1 short of Juan González' AL and MLB record. On April 24, Rodriguez's 23-game hitting streak came to an end. In a game against the Toronto Blue Jays on May 30, Rodriguez sparked controversy when he shouted during a routine play and the infielder let the pop fly drop, costing the Blue Jays four runs. The Yankees went on to win the game, 10–5.
On June 12, Rodriguez hit a mammoth home run against the Arizona Diamondbacks that hit off the front of the upper deck in left field. The home run was A-Rod's 25th of the season in only 63 games. That beat out his mark of the 2006 season, in which it took Rodriguez 113 games to reach 25.
On July 12, Rodriguez hit his 150th career home run in a Yankees uniform. This made him the first player in major league history to ever hit 150 home runs for three different teams. He is also just the third player to hit at least 100 home runs for three teams; Reggie Jackson and Darrell Evans are the other two.
On August 4, Rodriguez hit his 500th career home run against pitcher Kyle Davies of the Kansas City Royals. This made Alex the youngest player ever to reach 500 homers (32 years, 8 days). He is only the second Yankee to hit number 500 at home; Mickey Mantle on May 14, 1967 against Stu Miller was the other.
On September 5, for the first time in his career, Rodriguez hit two home runs in one inning against the Seattle Mariners. On September 23, New York Magazine reported that Rodriguez was involved in a deal for a new contract with the Chicago Cubs that would include part ownership of the team. His agent, however, reported to ESPN that this was untrue.
On September 25, Rodriguez became the fifth player ever in major league history to record a 50-home run, 150-RBI season when he hit a grand slam. Derek Jeter was one of the first of his teammates to congratulate him.
In 2007, Rodriguez became the first player in major league history to have at least 35 home runs, 100 runs, and 100 RBI in 10 consecutive seasons, surpassing Jimmie Foxx (9 consecutive seasons).
He led the AL in home runs (54), RBIs (156), slugging percentage (.645), OPS (1.067), total bases (376), and times on base (299), and was 2nd in hit by pitch (21), extra base hits (85), and at bats per home run (10.8), 4th in on base percentage (.422) and sacrifice flies (9), 7th in walks (95) and plate appearances (708), 8th in intentional walks (11), and 9th in games (158).
On October 24, Rodriguez won the Players Choice Award for Outstanding AL Player. On October 27, he won the Players Choice Award for Player of the Year. He also won the 2007 sliver slugger award for his position.
On November 19, 2007, Rodriguez was named the AL MVP for the third time in his career, receiving 26 first-place votes out of a possible 28.
|2008||American League||New York Yankees||US$ 28,000,000|
|2007||American League||New York Yankees||US$ 22,708,525|
|2006||American League||New York Yankees||US$ 21,680,727|
|2005||American League||New York Yankees||US$ 26,000,000|
|2004||American League||New York Yankees||US$ 22,000,000|
|2003||American League||Texas Rangers||US$ 22,000,000|
|2002||American League||Texas Rangers||US$ 22,000,000|
|2001||American League||Texas Rangers||US$ 22,000,000|
|2000||American League||Seattle Mariners||US$ 4,362,500|
|1999||American League||Seattle Mariners||US$ 3,112,500|
|1998||American League||Seattle Mariners||US$ 2,112,500|
|1997||American League||Seattle Mariners||US$ 1,012,500|
|1996||American League||Seattle Mariners||US$ 442,334|
Rodriguez has received the nickname The Cooler among players because of the perceived tendency for teams to turn cold when he joins them and hot when he leaves and because of his negative influence on team chemistry.
Due to the unsuccessful nature of the Yankees 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2007 postseasons, along with Rodriguez's sub .200 batting average in the postseasons of 2005 and 2006, Rodriguez has drawn much criticism in the New York area. Because of the Yankees' successful history, he is often compared unfavorably to other Yankees greats who have performed exceptionally well in the postseason, such as Reggie Jackson.
While Rodriguez won the AL MVP award in 2005 and played a pivotal role in the Yankees defeat of the Minnesota Twins in the 2004 ALDS, his recent postseason struggles have left fans frustrated. Rodriguez performed well in the earlier half of the 2004 postseason, hitting .320 with 3 home runs and 5 doubles in 50 at bats, but as was the case with the team in general, he ceased to pose an offensive threat during the final four games of the ALCS against the Boston Red Sox. The following postseason, Rodriguez went 2-for-15 in five games, and most recently, in the 2006 postseason, went 1-for-14 against the Detroit Tigers. Through 2006, Rodriguez was a paltry 4-for-41 (.098 batting average) with no RBI in his last 12 postseason games.
Much of the criticism regarding Rodriguez is focused upon his alleged inability to produce hits in clutch situations. However, during the 2003-05 regular seasons, Rodriguez posted a .371 batting average with the bases loaded and maintained an on base percentage of .422. In 2006, his numbers improved to .474 and .500 respectively. In 2007, through July 14 he hit .444 and .455, respectively. Additionally, Rodriguez's other batting lines during this period included a .432 average with a runner on third (.333 in 2006), .381 with a runner in scoring position (.302 in 2006), and .392 with a runner in scoring position and 2 outs (.313 in 2006; .333 in 2007 through July 14th).
In May 2006, Rodriguez responded to the criticism directed at him, saying:
"I could care less. In my career, I've been hearing it for a long time. It will never stop until you win five or six World Series in a row, and hit a Joe Carter home run. I've done a lot of special things in this game, and for none of that to be considered clutch, it's an injustice. I don't take anything personally; I enjoy it, it motivates me and I think it's comical. I think [for] anyone that drives in over 130 runs numerous times in his career, it's impossible not to be clutch.
In an issue of Sports Illustrated, Rodriguez surmised further reasons why he has become an apparent magnet for criticism, saying:
"When people write [bad things] about me, I don't know if it's [because] I'm good-looking, I'm biracial, I make the most money, I play on the most popular team."
Nonetheless, sportswriters, fans, and teammates have continued to debate Alex Rodriguez's performance in the clutch. Some writers such as the New York Post's Joel Sherman have asked, "How do you disregard your eyes completely? How do you ignore that at the most intense moments Rodriguez seems to be carrying his 32-ounce bat and the weight of the world into each at-bat? In the same issue of Sports Illustrated cited earlier, teammate Jason Giambi also criticized Rodriguez, remarking:"...you've got to get the big hit." However, Rodriguez and Giambi implied that the story was taken out of context, with Giambi claiming that his comments were part of a "pep talk", and not an argument, because he "was just trying to find a way to help him out. Rodriguez agreed, "This is the most support I've ever gotten from any team. I couldn't be more proud."
On July 29, 2007, former baseball outfielder and steroid-user José Canseco said that he was planning to publish another book about Major League Baseball, after his 2005 book Juiced. Canseco said the book has "other stuff" on Rodriguez, and called him a hypocrite. Rodriguez has denied accusations of steroid use. A potential former editor of the book said that Canseco "certainly doesn't have what he claims to have on A-Rod.
On May 27, 2007, Rodriguez was spotted at a Toronto strip club with a blonde woman, later identified as Joslyn Noel Morse, an exotic dancer with Scores Las Vegas who was featured in Playboy's 2001 magazine "Playboy's Casting Calls. The New York Post ran a picture on May 30, 2007.
ESPN reported that Cynthia Rodriguez filed for divorce on July 7, 2008, citing "emotional abandonment" and marital infidelity by her husband. Even though Mrs. Rodriguez signed a prenuptial agreement, the validity of any such agreement is subject to the normal challenges of a contract action, in addition to any limitation to private contracting imposed by New York State family law. She sought alimony, distribution of assets, child support including private school tuition, life and health insurance, and retention of the couple's $12-million marital home in Coral Gables, Florida.
|Major League Records|
|Most runs in a season (SS)||141|
|Most extra base hits in a season (SS)||91||1996|
|Highest slugging percentage in a season (SS)||.631||1996|
|Most total bases in a season (SS)||393|
|Most home runs in a season (SS)||57|
|Most home runs in the month of April (tied)||14|
|Fastest to 12 home runs in a season (tied)||15 Gms||2007|
|Fastest to 13 and 14 home runs in a season||18 Gms||2007|
|Most home runs by a New York-born player||518|
|Youngest ever to 500 home runs||32y, 8d|
|Most home runs by a third baseman (season)||52†||2007|
|Most stolen bases in a 50-home run season||24 (tied with Willie Mays)||2007|
|American League Records|
|Most home runs in consecutive seasons (RH)||109|
|Most home runs in the month of April||14|
|Fastest to 10 home runs in a season||14 Gms||2007|
|Fastest to 12 home runs in a season||15 Gms||2007|
|New York Yankees Records|
|Most home runs in a season (RH)||54|
|Most home runs in a season at home (RH)||26||2005/2007|