Since Alex Rodriguez had hit his 30th home run against Toronto last night, it only made sense to write my next Behind the Player about him.
Alex Rodriguez has been in the game going all the way back to 1994, when he first played for the Seattle Mariners and had worked his way up to becoming a New York Yankee with the richest baseball contract ($274 Million dollars for 10 years). But before we talk about the Alex Rodriguez that we know now, let’s talk about him back then, before anyone actually knew him.
Rodriguez was born in Washington Heights in New York City to a Dominican family. As a child Rodriguez’s favorite players were Keith Hernandez, Dale Murphy and Cal Ripken ad was a fan of not the Yankees, but the New York Mets. When Rodriguez was in High School his family located to Miami Florida which is where he started his journey as a baseball player.
Rodriguez was star on his Miami’s Westminster Christian School. In 100 games he batted .419 with 90 steals. During his senior year he was hitting .505 with 9 home runs, 36 RBI’s and 35 steals. At the age of 17, the Seattle Mariners were interested in signing Rodriguez leading to Rodriguez never playing a game of college baseball.
In 1993 Rodriguez started playing for Seattle’s AAA affiliate. When he was 18 years old he got his first start for Seattle in his first major league game as shortstop. Rodriguez spent one month on the Major League baseball team; the season was cut short by the Major League Baseball Strike of 1994. On June 12th 1995, he connected his first home run against the Kansas City Royals. He got his taste of the post season at just 20 years old, for only 2 at bats, but was the youngest player to do so. He stuck with the Mariners until the year 2000. Afterward he was signed to the Texas Rangers for a 10 year $252 Million dollar contract. Rodriguez later said that he regretted signing up with the Texas Rangers and wished to play for the New York Mets instead. From 2001-2003, Rodriguez had breakout numbers with the Rangers, but it wouldn’t have lasted long. In 2003, Rodriguez was tested positive for anabolic steroids, testosterone and Primobolan. Rodriguez did not confirm nor deny the first time they asked, but 2 days later he had admitted to taking the steroids from the 2001-2003 seasons of his career which he was on the Texas Rangers.
In 2004 the Rangers traded Rodriguez to the New York Yankees in exchange for Alfonso Soriano and a player later to be named which turned out to be Joaquin Arias. Rodriguez agreed to play third base since shortstop was already played by Derek Jeter. He had also switched his jersey form 3 to 13 due to 3 being honored by Babe Ruth.
With his first season with the Yankees, Rodriguez batted .286 with 36 home runs and 106 RBI’s. He was one of the first Yankees to bat with 35+ home runs and 100+ RBI’s, joining Babe Ruth and Jimmie Fox.
From 2005-2009 Alex Rodriguez continued to produce home runs, runs batted in and was able to slap the ball anywhere he wanted. He was MVP for the years 2005, and 2007. In 2010, he had fired his sports manager Scott Boras and had became the youngest player to hit 600 home runs in a career at just 35 years old.
Despite controversy, Alex Rodriguez was able to keep his head up in the game of baseball, and has shown that he is a power hitter beyond means. His contract with the Yankees is supposed to run out when he turns 42, so who knows how long he will play, but the game will never be the same without Alex Rodriguez.