Alex Rodriguez


Alex Rodriguez Biography

Alexander Emmanuel Rodriguez (born July 27, 1975), nicknamed "A-Rod", is a Dominican-American former professional baseball shortstop and third baseman. He played 22 seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Seattle Mariners, Texas Rangers, and New York Yankees. Rodriguez was one of the sport's most highly touted prospects and is considered one of the greatest baseball players of all time. Rodriguez amassed a .297 batting average, 696 home runs, over 2,000 runs batted in (RBI), over 2,000 runs scored, and over 3,000 hits. He is a 14-time All-Star and won three American League (AL) Most Valuable Player (MVP) Awards, ten Silver Slugger Awards, and two Gold Glove Awards. Rodrguez is the career record holder for grand slams with 25. However, he led a highly controversial career due to signing two of the most lucrative sports contracts in history while incurring criticism from the media for his behavior and use of illegal performance-enhancing drugs.

The Mariners selected Rodriguez first overall in the 1993 MLB draft, and he debuted in the major leagues the following year at the age of 18. In 1996, he became the Mariners' starting shortstop and finished second in voting for the AL MVP Award. Rodriguez's combination of power, speed, and defense made him a cornerstone of the franchise, but he left the team via free agency after the 2000 season to join the Rangers. The 10-year, $252 million contract he signed was the richest in baseball history. He played at a high level in his three years with Texas, highlighted by his first AL MVP Award win in 2003, but the team failed to make the playoffs during his tenure. Prior to the 2004 season, Rodriguez was traded to the Yankees, for whom he converted to a third baseman due to incumbent shortstop Derek Jeter. In his first four seasons with New York, he was twice more named AL MVP. After opting out of his contract following the 2007 season, Rodriguez signed a new 10-year, $275 million deal with the Yankees, extending his record for the sport's most lucrative contract. He became the youngest player ever to hit 500 home runs, reaching the milestone in 2007. He won his first World Series in 2009, which was the first year of the new Yankee Stadium. The following year, he became the career leader in home runs by a player of Hispanic descent. Toward the end of his career, Rodriguez was hampered by hip and knee injuries, which caused him to exclusively become a designated hitter. He played his final game as a Yankee on August 12, 2016.

In February 2009, after previously denying use of performance-enhancing drugs, including during a 2007 interview with Katie Couric on 60 Minutes, Rodriguez admitted to using steroids, saying he used them from 2001 to 2003 when playing for Rangers due to "an enormous amount of pressure" to perform. While recovering from a hip injury in 2013, Rodriguez made headlines by feuding with team management over his rehabilitation and for having allegedly obtained performance-enhancing drugs as part of the Biogenesis baseball scandal. In August 2013, MLB suspended him 211 games for his involvement in the scandal, but he was allowed to play while appealing the punishment. Had the original suspension been upheld, it would have been the longest non-lifetime suspension in Major League Baseball history. After an arbitration hearing, the suspension was reduced to 162 games, keeping him off the field for the entire 2014 season.

After his baseball career, Rodriguez became a media personality, serving as a broadcaster for Fox Sports 1, a cast member of Shark Tank and a member of the ABC News network.

Early life

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 the Dominican Republic, then to Miami, Florida. Rodriguez's favorite baseball players growing up were Keith Hernandez, Dale Murphy, and Cal Ripken Jr., and his favorite team was the New York Mets.

At the end of Alex's freshman year at Christopher Columbus High School, he transferred to Westminster Christian School, where he was a star shortstop on the baseball team and played quarterback on the football team. 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 nine home runs, 36 runs batted in (RBIs), and 35 stolen bases in 35 attempts in 33 games. He was selected as the USA Baseball Junior Player of the Year and as Gatorade's national baseball student athlete of the year. In 1993, Rodriguez became the first high school player to ever try out for the United States national baseball team. He was regarded as the top prospect in the country.

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 sign with the Seattle Mariners after being selected in the first round of the 1993 amateur draft at the age of 17.

Professional career

The Seattle Mariners selected Rodriguez with the first overall selection of the 1993 Major League Baseball draft. The Mariners signed Rodriguez to a three-year contract worth $1.3 million, and a $1 million signing bonus.

Seattle Mariners (1994-2000)

1994-1995

Rodriguez made his professional debut in 1994 in Minor League Baseball with the Appleton Foxes of the Class A Midwest League. He was promoted to the Jacksonville Suns of the Class AA Southern League. He played in 17 games for Jacksonville, and was promoted to the major leagues. Rodriguez made his major league debut as the starting shortstop on July 8, 1994, at 18 years, 11 months, and 11 days of age. He was 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 first Major League hit was a single off Sergio Valdez on July 9 at Fenway Park. Rodriguez played in 17 games for the Mariners, compiling a .204 batting average, two RBIs, and three stolen bases. The Mariners optioned Rodriguez to the Calgary Cannons of the Class AAA Pacific Coast League (PCL) in August. In 32 games for Calgary, he had 37 hits in 119 at-bats for a .311 batting average. He also compiled six home runs and 21 RBIs.

Rodriguez split most of 1995 between the Mariners and the Tacoma Rainiers of the PCL. He connected for his first 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 Major League Baseball. During the 1995 season, Rodriguez played in 48 games batting .232 with 5 home runs, 19 RBI, and 4 stolen bases.

1996-1997

The following year, Rodriguez took over as the Mariners' regular shortstop and led the American League (AL) with a .358 batting average, the highest for an AL right-handed batter since Joe DiMaggio hit .381 in 1939 and the 3rd highest ever for a shortstop. He also had 36 home runs with 123 RBIs. At 21 years and one month, he was the 3rd youngest AL batting leader ever behind Al Kaline (20) in 1955 and Ty Cobb (20) in 1907, and the 3rd youngest player in history with 35+ homers. He was also the first major league shortstop to win a batting title since 1960, and the first in the AL since 1944. At 20 years, 11 months, he was the youngest shortstop 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 base 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 a shortstop.

The Sporting News and Associated Press selected Rodriguez as their Major League Player of the Year. He finished second to Juan Gonzlez in balloting for the AL Most Valuable Player (MVP) Award. He finished three points behind Gonzlez (290-287), matching the second closest AL MVP voting in history.

In 1997, Rodriguez had a .300 batting average with 23 home runs with 84 RBIs. He hit for the cycle on June 5, becoming the second Mariner, and at 21 years, 10 months, the fifth youngest player in history, to accomplish the feat. He was the fan's choice to start the All-Star Game at shortstop for the AL team, becoming the first player other than 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.

1998-2000

Rodriguez rebounded in 1998, setting the AL record for homers by a shortstop and becoming just the third member of the 40-40 club, (with 42 home runs and 46 stolen bases) and one of just 3 shortstops in history to hit 40 home runs in a season. His 43.9 Power-speed number was, through at least 2008, the highest single season Power/Speed Number ever. He was selected as Players Choice AL Player of the Year, won his second Silver Slugger Award, and finished ninth in the MVP voting.

In 1999, Rodriguez had a .310 average, 42 home runs, and 111 RBIs, 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. At the time, he was the youngest-ever player to achieve 100 home runs and 100 stolen bases, at 23 years and 309 days of age. In April 2015, Mike Trout reached the same milestone at 23 years and 253 days old.

Rodriguez entered 2000 as the cornerstone player of the Mariners franchise, which had recently traded superstars Randy Johnson and Ken Griffey Jr. Rodriguez put up great numbers as the team's remaining superstar, hitting 41 HR with 132 RBIs and a .316 batting average. He set a career high for walks (100) and became the 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 2000 American League Championship Series. He was selected as the Major League Player of the Year by Baseball America and finished third in the AL MVP voting.

Texas Rangers (2001-2003)

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. It was highly criticized at the time for tying up valuable payroll space that could have been spent in improving other areas, such as pitching.

In an article written eight years later, Rodriguez said he regretted signing with the Texas Rangers and wished he had signed with the New York Mets instead, and that he had heeded the advice of his agent, Scott Boras. (See Opt out controversy).

2001-2002

Rodriguez's power hitting numbers improved with his move to Texas. In his first season with the Rangers, Rodriguez 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 1932 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 1968) 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 third in RBIs (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 fourth-highest RBI total. He led the club in runs, hits, doubles (34), homers, RBI, slugging, and on-base percentage and was second 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.

Rodriguez followed the previous year with a major league-best 57 HR, 142 RBIs and 389 total bases in 2002, becoming the first player to lead the majors in all three categories since 1984. His nine home runs in April matched a team record that was shared (through 2008) with Ivn Rodrguez (2000), Carl Everett (2003), and Ian Kinsler (2007). 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. He won the Babe Ruth Home Run Award for leading MLB in homers that season. He also won his first Gold Glove Award, awarded for outstanding defense.

His 109 home runs in 2001-02 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

In 2003, 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. He was tied with Jim Thome for the MLB lead in homers, and he won his second Babe Ruth Home Run Award.

Following five top-10 finishes in the AL MVP voting between 1996 and 2002, Rodriguez won his first MVP trophy. Rodriguez, a two-time runner up in the balloting by the Baseball Writers' Association of America, joined outfielder Andre Dawson from the 1987 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 initially agreed to a trade with the Boston Red Sox, but the 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.

New York Yankees (2004-2016)

Yankees third baseman Aaron Boone suffered a knee injury while playing a game of pickup basketball that sidelined him for the entire 2004 season, creating a hole at third base.

On February 15, 2004, the Rangers traded Rodriguez to the New York Yankees for second baseman Alfonso Soriano and a player to be named later (Joaqun rias was sent to the Rangers on March 24). The Rangers also 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

During his first season with the Yankees, Rodriguez hit .286 with 36 home runs, 106 RBIs, 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 RBIs 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 1955 to 1967, and the longest in the American League since Mickey Mantle did it also in nine straight seasons from 1953 to 1961. 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, Rodriguez was hit by a pitch from Bronson Arroyo, which led to a scuffle with Boston Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek and a bench-clearing brawl between both teams. On defense, he had the lowest range factor among non-platoon AL third basemen (2.39) in his first year at the position. 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 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, and his run was nullified. The Yankees would then lose the ALCS to the eventual World Series champion Red Sox after leading the series 3 games to none.

2005-2006

In 2005, 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 1980. 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 to 1940). 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 1937). His 47 HR from the third base position are a single-season American League record. Rodriguez 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).

On April 26, Rodriguez hit three home runs off Angels' pitcher Bartolo Coln 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 May 24, 1936. Rodriguez became the 11th major leaguer to accomplish the feat. Rodriguez won his second AL MVP Award in three seasons.

Of both the MVP and its precursor, the "League Award", Rodriguez became the fifth player to win 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.

Prior to the season Rodriguez opted to play for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic.

Rodriguez was again an All-Star in 2006. His 2,000th hit, on July 21, 2006 ? six days prior to his 31st birthday ? was also his 450th home run. Rodriguez became the youngest player in baseball history to reach 450 home runs (surpassing Ken Griffey, Jr., by 267 days), and the eighth 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 achieved their 2,000th hit at age 30. All seven are members of baseball's Hall of Fame.

For the season, Rodriguez finished fourth in the league in RBI (121), fifth in runs scored (113), eighth in home runs (35) and walks (90), and ninth 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 also became the second player in Major League history to record at least 35 home runs, 100 runs, and 100 RBIs in nine consecutive seasons, joining Foxx. It was Rodriguez's 11th consecutive season with more than 100 runs scored, the longest such streak in American League history since Lou Gehrig did so in 13 straight seasons (1926-38). Despite this success, it was perceived as one of his lesser-accomplished seasons and was harshly criticized throughout the 2006 season. He has commented that 2006 was his most difficult season as a professional.

2007

In 2007, Rodriguez reported to camp having reduced his body fat from 16% the year before to 9%. He made light of this fact during a Late Show with David Letterman sketch filmed during Spring training, which featured him shirtless being rubbed down with suntan lotion. He revealed to the press that he and 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 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 one short of Juan Gonzlez' AL and MLB record. In a game against the Toronto Blue Jays on May 30, Rodriguez sparked controversy when he shouted during a routine play and an infielder let a pop fly drop, costing the Blue Jays three runs. The Yankees went on to win the game, 10-5.




This webpage uses material from the Wikipedia article "Alex_Rodriguez" and is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. Reality TV World is not responsible for any errors or omissions the Wikipedia article may contain.
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