Alex Rodriguez

Alex Rodriguez

Rodriguez, Alex (Alexander Emmanuel Rodriguez), 1975-, American baseball player, b. New York City. Drafted (1993) out of high school by the Seattle Mariners as the first pick overall, he debuted in the majors the following year but played partial seasons then and in 1995. In the majors full-time from 1996, "A-Rod," a superb shortstop and right-handed hitter, led the American League in batting average (.358) that year. He began averaging more than 40 home runs a year in 1998, and subsequently became the youngest player to hit 300, 400, and 500 homers (in 2003, 2005, and 2007). In Dec., 2000, he left the Mariners, signing what was then the richest-ever contract in professional sports with the Texas Rangers, with whom he was the AL's home-run leader in 2001 and 2002. Named the AL's Most Valuable Player in 2003, he won a trade to the New York Yankees, and moved to third base defensively in 2004. Rodriguez was again league MVP in 2005. His extraordinary career was tarnished in 2009 when, after years of rumor and denial, he admitted to using steroids during the 2001-3 seasons; it also was revealed that in 2003 he had tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs.

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.

Early life

Background

Alex Rodriguez was born in the Washington Heights section of New York City to a Dominican family. When he was four, Rodriguez and his parents moved to their native Dominican Republic. After the family moved to Miami, Florida, three years later, Rodriguez's father announced his intention to move back north to New Jersey for a short time. He never returned, abandoning Rodriguez and his mother. His favorite baseball players when he was growing up were Keith Hernandez, Dale Murphy, and Cal Ripken. His favorite team growing up was the New York Mets.

High school

Rodriguez was a star shortstop at Miami's Westminster Christian High School. In 100 games he batted .419 with 90 steals. Westminster went on to win the high school national championship in his junior year. He was first team prep All-American as a senior, hitting .505 with 9 home runs, 36 RBI, and 35 steals in 35 tries in 33 games, and was selected as the USA Baseball Junior Player of the Year and as Gatorade's national baseball student athlete of the year. Rodriguez was the first high school player to ever try out for Team USA in 1993, and was regarded as the top prospect in the country. Rodriguez's former Yankees teammate, Doug Mientkiewicz, played baseball with him at Westminster.

University of Miami

Rodriguez signed a letter of intent to play baseball for the University of Miami and was also recruited by the university to play quarterback for its football team. Rodriguez turned down Miami's baseball scholarship and never played college baseball, opting instead to become eligible for the amateur draft at the age of 17. In 2003, Rodriguez gave $3.9 million to the University of Miami to renovate its baseball stadium. The new facility will be named 'Mark Light Field at Alex Rodriguez Park.' Rodriguez remains an ardent University of Miami fan and can frequently be found at Hurricane sporting events, as well as working out at the school's athletic facilities in the off-season. He received the University of Miami's Edward T. Foote II Alumnus of Distinction Award in 2007. Rodriguez had previously been named an "honorary alumnus" of the university in 2004. He is a member of the University of Miami's Board of Trustees.

Professional career

Seattle Mariners

Alex Rodriguez was drafted first overall by the Seattle Mariners in . He was signed by Roger Jongewaard right out of high school. Rodriguez rose rapidly through the Mariners organization, and made his major league debut as the starting shortstop on July 8, , in Boston at 18 years, 11 months, and 11 days of age, just the third 18-year-old major league shortstop since 1900. He was also the first 18-year-old major league player in 10 years, and the youngest position player in Seattle history. His 1st major league hit was a single off Sergio Valdez on July 9 at Fenway Park. Rodriguez's first major league campaign lasted just one month; the season was cut short by the 1994 Major League Baseball strike.

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.

1996: First full season and breakout year

The following year, Rodriguez took over as the Mariners' regular shortstop (SS) and emerged as a star player, hitting 36 HR, driving in 123 runs, and pacing the American League (AL) with a .358 batting average, the highest for an AL right-handed batter since Joe DiMaggio hit .381 in and the 3rd highest ever for an SS. At 21 years and one month, he was the 3rd youngest AL batting leader ever behind Al Kaline (20) in and Ty Cobb (20) in , and the 3rd youngest player in history with 35+ homers. He was also the 1st major league SS to win a batting title since , and the 1st in the AL since , and at 20 years, 11 months, was the youngest SS in All-Star Game history. He also led the AL in runs (141), total bases (379), and doubles (54) and ranked among the league leaders in hits (2nd, 215), extra base hits (2nd, 91), multi-hit games (3rd, 65), slugging (4th, .631), RBI (8th, 123), and on-base percentage (8th, .414). Rodriguez posted the highest totals ever for a shortstop in runs, hits, doubles, extra base hits, and slugging, and tied most total bases, and established Seattle club records for average, runs, hits, doubles, and total bases, in a season that statistical analysts consider the best ever by an SS.

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.

1997–99 season

In , Rodriguez's numbers fell somewhat, as he hit 23 HRs with 84 RBI and a .300 batting average that year. He hit for the cycle on June 5 at Detroit, becoming the 2nd Mariner to ever accomplish the feat, and at 21 years, 10 months, was 5th youngest player in history to do it. He was the fan's choice to start the All-Star Game at shortstop for the AL team, becoming the first player other than Cal Ripken to start at shortstop in 13 years. It was the first All-Star start of his career and his second All-Star Game in two years.

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.

In , he again hit 42 HR, despite missing over 30 games with an injury and playing the second half of the season at Safeco Field, a considerably less hitter-friendly ballpark than the Kingdome.

2000: Final season in Seattle

Rodriguez entered as the cornerstone player of the Mariners franchise, which had recently dealt superstars Randy Johnson and Ken Griffey, Jr. Rodriguez put up great numbers as the team's remaining superstar; he hit 41 HR with 132 RBI and had a .316 batting average. He set a career high for walks (100) and became the first and only shortstop to have 100 runs, RBI, and walks in the same season. He hit well in the playoffs as well (.409 batting average and .773 slugging percentage), but Seattle lost to the New York Yankees in the American League Championship Series.

He was selected as the Major League Player of the Year by Baseball America and finished 3rd in the BBWAA AL MVP voting.

Texas Rangers

Rodriguez became a free agent after the 2000 season. He eventually signed with the Texas Rangers, who had fallen to last in their division in 2000. The contract he signed was at the time the most lucrative contract in sports history: a 10-year deal worth $252 million. The deal was worth $63 million more than the second-richest baseball deal.

2001–02: Record-breaking seasons

Rodriguez's power hitting numbers improved with his move to Texas. In his first season with the Rangers, Alex produced one of the top offensive seasons ever for a shortstop, leading the American League with 52 HR, 133 runs scored, and 393 total bases. He became the first player since with 50 homers and 200 hits in a season, just the third shortstop to ever lead his league in homers, and was just the second AL player in the last 34 seasons (beginning ) to lead the league in runs, homers, and total bases; his total base figure is the most ever for a major league shortstop. His 52 homers made him the sixth youngest to ever reach 50 homers and were the highest total ever by a shortstop, surpassing Ernie Banks' record of 47 in 1958, and also the most ever for an infielder other than a 1st baseman, breaking Phillies 3B Mike Schmidt's mark of 48 in 1980. It was his 5th 30-homer campaign, tying Banks for most ever by a shortstop. He also tied for the league lead in extra base hits (87) and ranked 3rd in RBI (135) and slugging (.622). He was also among the AL leaders in hits (4th, 201), average (7th, .318), and on-base percentage (8th, .399). He established Rangers club records for homers, runs, total bases, and hit by pitches, had the 2nd most extra base hits, and the 4th highest RBI total. He led the club in runs, hits, doubles (34), homers, RBI, slugging, and on-base percentage and was 2nd in walks (75), stolen bases (18), and game-winning RBI (14) while posting career highs for homers, RBI, and total bases. Rodriguez started 161 games at shortstop and one as the DH, the only major league player to start all of his team's games in 2001.

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.

2003: American League Most Valuable Player

In , his last season with Texas, Rodriguez led the American League in home runs, runs scored, and slugging percentage, and won his second consecutive Gold Glove Award. He also led the league in fewest at bats per home run (12.9) and became the youngest player to hit 300 homers.

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.

New York Yankees

New York's third baseman, Aaron Boone, suffered a knee injury while playing a game of pickup basketball which sidelined him for the entire season, creating a hole at third base.

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.

2004: First season with Yankees

In his first season with the Yankees, Rodriguez hit .286 with 36 home runs, 106 runs batted in, 112 runs scored and 28 stolen bases. He became one of only three players in Major League history to compile at least 35 home runs, 100 runs and 100 RBI in seven consecutive seasons, joining Hall of Famers Babe Ruth and Jimmie Foxx. The 112 runs marked the ninth straight season in which he scored at least 100 runs, the longest such streak in the Major Leagues since Hank Aaron did it in 13 straight seasons from -, and the longest in the American League since Mickey Mantle did it also in nine straight seasons from -. During the 2004 season, he also became the youngest player ever to reach the 350 HR mark and the third youngest to reach the 1,000 RBI plateau. He was elected to the 2004 American League All-Star Team, the eighth All-Star selection of his career and the first as a third baseman. On July 24, 2004, after being hit by a pitch, Rodriguez and Boston Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek scuffled, leading to a brawl between both teams. On defense, he had the lowest range factor among AL third basemen (2.39). He finished 14th in balloting for the AL MVP Award.

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.

2005: American League Most Valuable Player

In , Rodriguez hit .321, leading the American League with 124 runs and 48 HR while driving in 130 runs. He became the first Yankee to win the American League home run title since Reggie Jackson (41) in . He also became one of only two players in Major League history to compile at least 35 home runs, 100 runs and 100 RBIs in eight consecutive seasons (Jimmie Foxx accomplished the feat in nine straight seasons from 1932-). Rodriguez established the franchise record for most home runs in a single season by a right-handed batter (broke Joe DiMaggio's mark of 46 in ). His 47 HR from the third base position are a single-season American League record. Alex hit 26 home runs at Yankee Stadium in 2005, establishing the single-season club record for right-handed batters (previously held by DiMaggio in 1937 and Gary Sheffield in 2004). On June 8, at 29 years, 316 days old, he became the youngest player in MLB history to reach the 400 HR mark. 2005 also marked the tenth straight season that Rodriguez scored at least 100 runs. On defense, however, he had the lowest range factor in the league at third for the second straight season (2.62).

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.

2006 season

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.

2007: American League Most Valuable Player

With the 2007 season came a new attitude. Rodriguez reported to camp lighter, having reduced his body fat from 16% the year before to 9%. Alex made light of this fact during a Late Night with David Letterman sketch filmed during Spring Training, which featured a shirtless A-Rod being rubbed down with suntan lotion. He revealed to the press that he and Derek Jeter were no longer close friends. Rodriguez also reduced his high leg kick at the plate, increasing his bat speed, making him less-apt to strike out and a more dangerous hitter.

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.

Opt-out controversy
The 2007 season marked the last year of Rodriguez's 10-year, $252 million contract before he opted out, effectively making him a free agent again. Rodriguez had repeatedly stated during the 2007 season that he would like to remain a Yankee for the rest of his career. On October 28, , Rodriguez's agent, Scott Boras, announced that he would not renew his contract with the Yankees citing that he "was unsure of the future composition" of the team. He received a slew of criticism from fans and writers alike not only for opting out, but also for not meeting with Yankee management before he did. He was further criticized for the timing of his announcement, during the eighth inning of Game Four of the World Series, as the Boston Red Sox were wrapping up their victory over the Colorado Rockies. After realizing that the situation was not handled very well, Rodriguez contacted the New York Yankees ownership directly, bypassing Boras. Subsequently, Rodriguez issued a statement on his website, saying that he wished to stay with the Yankees. On November 15, 2007, the New York Yankees and Rodriguez agreed on the "basic framework" of a 10-year, $275 million contract. Rodriguez stands to make millions more if he breaks the all-time home run record as a Yankee. The contract was finalized on December 13.

2008 season

On September 3, in a game against the Tampa Bay Rays, Rodriguez hit his 549th home run. The opposing manager objected that the ball was foul, and for the first time in MLB history, instant replay (a process officially introduced a few days earlier) was used to review the play and uphold the umpires' ruling.

Career Earnings

As of 2008 season
Year League Team Salary
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
Total career earnings: US$ 197,431,586

Criticism

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.

Personal life

Early Life

Rodriguez grew up with two half-siblings, Joe and Suzy, who were born in the Dominican Republic and are children from his mother's first marriage. Rodriguez also has a half-brother, Victor M. Rodriguez, who was born to Alex's father Victor Sr. and his then-wife Pouppe Martinez in 1960. The couple divorced a year later, and Victor Jr. was raised by his mother. Victor Jr., who is an officer in the United States Air Force, fell out of touch with Alex for a period of 23 years, until they met at a Texas Rangers game in 2003.

Marriage

He married Cynthia Scurtis, a psychology professor, on November 2, 2002. The couple's first child, Natasha Alexander, was born on November 18, 2004. On April 21, 2008, Cynthia gave birth to their second child, Ella Alexander, in Miami, Florida.

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.

Divorce

On July 2, 2008, the New York Daily News reported that Rodriguez and his wife had separated, after having "problems" for the past three months, since the birth of their second daughter. This comes together with rumors published in Us Weekly magazine, about a possible affair between A-Rod and pop singer Madonna, claims Madonna later denied.

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.

Rodriguez owns a Mercedes-Benz dealership in League City, Texas.

Awards and honors

  • 7-time AL All-Star (SS) (1996–98, 2000–03)
  • 5-time AL All-Star (3B) (2004–08)
  • 3-time AL MVP (2003, 2005, 2007)
  • 7-time AL Silver Slugger Award (SS) (1996, 1998–2003)
  • 2-time AL Silver Slugger Award (3B) (2005, 2007)
  • 4-time AL Hank Aaron Award (2001–03, 2007)
  • 2-time Seattle Mariners Player of the Year (1998, 2000)
  • 2-time Baseball America MLB Player of the Year (2000, 2002)
  • 4-time Baseball America 1st-Team Major League All-Star (SS) (1998, 2000–03)
  • 3-time Texas Rangers Player of the Year (2001–03)
  • 2-time AL Gold Glove Award (SS) (2002, 2003)
  • 2-time The Sporting News Player of the Year (2002, 2007)
  • 1993 1st Team High School All-American (IF)
  • 1994 Seattle Mariners Minor League Player of the Year
  • 1994 Midwest League All-Star (SS)
  • 1995 Baseball America 1st Team Minor League All-Star (SS)
  • 1995 Triple-A All-Star (SS)
  • 1996 The Sporting News Player of the Year
  • 2005 Baseball America 1st-Team Major League All-Star (3B)
  • 2007 TYIB Hitter of the Year
  • 2007 Pepsi Clutch Performer of the Year

Achievements

  • 5-time AL Runs Leader (1996, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2007)
  • 4-time AL Total Bases Leader (1996, 2001, 2002, 2007)
  • 5-time AL Home Run Title (2001-2003, 2005, 2007)
  • 2-time AL RBI Title (2002, 2007)
  • 2-time AL OPS Leader (2005, 2007)
  • 3-time AL Slugging Percentage Leader (2003, 2005, 2007)
  • 1996 AL Batting Title
  • 1996 AL Doubles Leader
  • 1998 AL Hits Leader
  • 2001 AL Extra-Base Hits Leader

Records

Major League Records
Record Total Season
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
†: He hit 2 home runs as a DH in the 2007 season.

American League Records
Record Total Season
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
Record Total Season
Most home runs in a season (RH) 54
Most home runs in a season at home (RH) 26 2005/2007

Career statistics

Year Age Team Lg G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS TB SH SF IBB HBP GDP
1994 18 Seattle AL

17 54 4 11 0 0 0 2 3 0 3 20 .204 .241 .204 .445 11 1 1 0 0 0
1995 19 Seattle AL

48 142 15 33 6 2 5 19 4 2 6 42 .232 .264 .408 .672 58 1 0 0 0 0
1996 20 Seattle AL

146 601 141 215 54 1 36 123 15 4 59 104 .358 .414 .631 1.045 379 6 7 1 4 15
1997 21 Seattle AL

141 587 100 176 40 3 23 84 29 6 41 99 .300 .350 .496 .846 291 4 1 1 5 14
1998 22 Seattle AL

161 686 123 213 35 5 42 124 46 13 45 121 .310 .360 .560 .920 384 3 4 0 10 12
1999 23 Seattle AL

129 502 110 143 25 0 42 111 21 7 56 109 .285 .357 .586 .943 294 1 8 2 5 12
2000 24 Seattle AL

148 554 134 175 34 2 41 132 15 4 100 121 .316 .420 .606 1.026 336 0 11 5 7 10
2001 25 Texas AL

162 632 133 201 34 1 52 135 18 3 75 131 .318 .399 .622 1.021 393 0 9 6 16 17
2002 26 Texas AL

162 624 125 187 27 2 57 142 9 4 87 122 .300 .392 .623 1.015 389 0 4 12 10 14
2003 27 Texas AL

161 607 124 181 30 6 47 118 17 3 87 126 .298 .396 .600 .996 364 0 6 10 15 16
2004 28 New York AL

155 601 112 172 24 2 36 106 28 4 80 131 .286 .375 .512 .887 308 0 7 6 10 18
2005 29 New York AL

162 605 124 194 29 1 48 130 21 6 91 139 .321 .421 .610 1.031 369 0 3 8 16 8
2006 30 New York AL

154 572 113 166 26 1 35 121 15 4 90 139 .290 .392 .523 .915 299 0 4 8 8 22
2007 31 New York AL

158 583 143 183 31 0 54 156 24 4 95 120 .314 .422 .645 1.067 376 0 9 11 21 15
2008 32 New York AL

138 510 104 154 33 0 35 103 18 3 65 117 .302 .392 .573 .965 292 0 5 9 14 16
Totals:

2,042 7,860 1,605 2,404 428 26 553 1,606 283 67 980 1,641 .306 .389 .578 .967 4,543 16 79 79 141 189

See also

Notes and references

External links

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