| Current Team New York Yankees
Alexander Emmanuel "Alex" Rodríguez (born July 27, 1975, in New York City), is an baseball player. He is currently a New York Yankee, after having played shortstop for the Texas Rangers and Seattle Mariners and third base for the New York Yankees.
He has won three MVP Awards two with the Yankees and 1 with the Rangers, also finishing second in the voting twice. He has led the American League in home runs 4 times. He has often been cited as the best all-around player currently in baseball, but his playing woes in 2006 have also been much analyzed.
Rodríguez is known for signing the richest contract in sports history, a 10-year, $252 million dollar deal.
Rodríguez was born in the Washington Heights section of New York City. When he was four, Rodríguez moved with his parents to their native Dominican Republic. After the family moved to Miami, Florida three years later, Rodríguez's father announced his intention to return to New Jersey for a short time. He never returned, leaving his wife and young Alex to struggle in their new environment.
Rodríguez was a star player at Miami's Westminster Christian High School. Rodríguez 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. Former Yankee Doug Mientkiewicz was Roriguez`s tight end and J.D Drew (Red Sox) was on the same team too as a middleline backer. Rodríguez 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.
He was drafted first overall by the Seattle Mariners in 1993. Rodríguez rose rapidly through the Mariners organization, and made his major league debut in July 1994 as the youngest player in the major leagues at the age of 18. At the age of 19 Rodriguez earned his first base hit and his first stolen base. Many people know Rodriguez as A-ROD (A for Alex-Rod for Rodriguez). Ford C. Frick award winner by the name of Dave Niehuas (Seattle Mariners Announcer) gave him this nickname and, now that is how people remember Rodriguez.
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Alex Rodríguez's first major league campaign lasted just one month; the season was cut short by the 1994 baseball strike. Rodríguez then split most of 1995 between the Mariners and their AAA club, the Tacoma Rainiers. Rodríguez joined the major league roster permanently in August, where he got his first taste of postseason play, albeit in just two at-bats.
The following year, Rodríguez took over as the Mariners' regular shortstop and emerged as a star player, hitting 36 HR (home runs), driving in 123 RBI (Runs Batted In), and pacing the AL (American League) with a .358 batting average. He also led the AL in runs, total bases, and doubles. Rodríguez came close to becoming the youngest MVP (Most Valuable Player) in baseball history, finishing second to Juan González in the voting by three points, 290-287.
In 1997, Rodríguez's numbers fell somewhat, hitting 23 HR with 84 RBI and a .300 batting average that year. Rodríguez rebounded in 1998, however, becoming just the third member of the 40 HR/40 SB (Stolen bases) club, with 42 HR and 46 SB. In 1999 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.
Rodríguez entered 2000 as the cornerstone player of the Mariners franchise, which had recently dealt superstars Randy Johnson and Ken Griffey, Jr.. Rodríguez put up great numbers as the team's remaining superstar; he hit 41 HR with 132 RBI and batted a .316 batting average. He hit well in the playoffs too, but Seattle lost to the New York Yankees in the ALCS (American League Championship Series) despite Rodríguez's .409 batting average and .773 slugging percentage.
Rodríguez became a free agent after the 2000 season. After several playoff disappointments with the Mariners, he declared his intention to go to a World Series-caliber team. During his free agency, Rodríguez's agent Scott Boras met with New York Mets officials, who were considered the favorites to sign the All-Star shortstop. Boras made extravagant contract demands, reportedly including the use of a private jet for road trips, personal office space usually reserved for managers and executives, a personal tent to sell A-Rod merchandise, and more billboard advertising space than crosstown Yankee shortstop Derek Jeter. Pulling out of negotiations, the Mets GM Steve Phillips took the unusual step of publicly announcing that he no longer had interest in pursuing the slugger's services. Some felt this was the Mets' way of saving face for not meeting media and fan expectations, but the squabble helped fuel the perception that Rodríguez and his agent were greedy.Template:Fact
Rodríguez eventually signed with the Texas Rangers, who had fallen to last in their division in 2000, but had won three of the previous four AL Western division titles. The contract he signed was then the most lucrative contract in sports history: a 10-year deal worth $252 million. The contract was harshly criticized because it was believed that once the Mets pulled out of running, no other team had come close to offering that amount of money, and thus Texas had topped the next highest offer by as much as $50 million. (Rodríguez's contract remains the most lucrative in American sports history.) The deal is worth $63 million more than the second-richest baseball deal, the $189 million contract Derek Jeter signed in February 2001.
Rodríguez's power hitting numbers improved with his move to Texas. He hit 52 HR in 2001, and followed that with a major league-best 57 HR in 2002 (the most ever for a shortstop), while also winning his first Gold Glove Award, awarded for outstanding defense. However, the Rangers finished last in the AL Western division in both years, a showing that likely cost Rodríguez the MVP award in 2002 when he finished second to fellow shortstop Miguel Tejada, whose 103-win Oakland A's won the same division.
Rodríguez's last season with Texas, 2003, was another productive year. He hit .298 with 47 HR, led the AL in slugging and runs scored, and won his second consecutive Gold Glove Award. Following five top-10 finishes in the AL Most Valuable Player voting between 1996 and 2002, Rodríguez won his first MVP trophy.
The Rangers, however, remained mired in last place. Some laid the blame on Rodríguez's contract, which allegedly monopolized the team's resources, leaving them with little chance to pay other quality players. Others attributed that same criticism to Rangers owner Tom Hicks' "buyer's remorse," and general jealousy of the record-setting contract.
Following the 2003 season, Texas set out to move Rodríguez 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 Rodríguez. 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 Rodríguez.
New York Yankees
On February 15, 2004 Rodríguez was successfully traded to the New York Yankees for second baseman Alfonso Soriano and a player to be named later (eventually Joaquin Arias). The Rangers were obliged to pay $67 million of the $179 million left on Rodríguez's contract. Although the richest team in the sport, the Yankees had not been assumed to be players in the Rodríguez sweepstakes, since New York already had a star shortstop in team captain Derek Jeter. However, New York's third baseman, Aaron Boone, suffered a knee injury while playing a game of pickup basketball which sidelined him for the entire 2004 season. Rodríguez agreed to switch positions from shortstop to third base, paving the way for the trade. Rodríguez 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 his first season with the Yankees, Rodríguez's numbers dipped from his numbers with Texas. He hit .286 with 36 HR and 106 RBI, his seventh consecutive season with at least 100 RBI. He finished 14th in balloting for the AL MVP Award. Near the end of the season, Yankees manager Joe Torre moved Rodríguez to the No. 2 spot in the batting order.
In July 2004, after being hit by a pitch, Rodríguez and Boston Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek scuffled, leading to a brawl between both teams. Many later interpreted the event as the turning point of the Boston Red Sox' season. Boston won that game with a 3-run rally in the bottom of the 9th inning, and their fortunes improved from that date.
In the 2004 ALDS, Rodríguez was a dominant hitter against the Minnesota Twins, batting .421 and slugging .737 while delivering two key extra-inning hits. Following the series win, Rodríguez's first season with the Yankees had culminated in a dramatic playoff series against the team he had almost ended up playing for: the Yankees' bitter rival, the Boston Red Sox.
One of the most talked-about plays of Rodríguez's career caused controversy 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 8th inning, Rodríguez hit a slow roller between the pitcher's mound and the first base bag. Red Sox pitcher Bronson Arroyo fielded the ball and ran towards Rodríguez to apply a tag. As Arroyo reached towards him, Rodríguez slapped the ball out of Arroyo's glove. As the ball rolled loose, Jeter scored all the way from first as Rodríguez reached second on the play, which was initially ruled an error on Arroyo. However, the other umpires quickly huddled, then ruled that Rodríguez was out for interference. Jeter was sent back to first base, his run nullified. The Red Sox were able to escape the inning with no further damage and eventually won the game 4-2, tying the series at 3 games apiece. Rodríguez's behavior, being perceived as unprofessional, would inspire much derision from Red Sox fans.
In 2005, his second season with the Yankees, Rodríguez's numbers improved, as he hit .321 with 48 HR and 130 RBI. An offensive highlight of his season came on April 26, when Rodríguez hit 3 HR off Angels' pitcher Bartolo Colon and drove in 10 RBI. Rodríguez also set several marks for power during the 2005 season. Rodríguez became the Yankee righthanded hitter with the most home runs in a season, supplanting Joe DiMaggio and Gary Sheffield. His 48th and final home run tied him for the most homers by a third baseman (along with Mike Schmidt and Adrian Beltre). Rodríguez now holds the records for most HRs in a single season at two positions, shortstop and third base, becoming the only major leaguer ever to accomplish this feat. 2005 also marked the tenth straight season that Rodríguez scored at least 100 runs.
Rodríguez beat out Boston's David Ortiz for his second AL MVP Award in three seasons. He became the fifth player to win an MVP award with two different teams, joining Mickey Cochrane, Jimmie Foxx, Frank Robinson and Barry Bonds. Rodríguez was also named the shortstop on the Major League Baseball Latino Legends Team. However, Rodríguez hit .133 without an RBI as the Yankees lost in the Division Series to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. It was argued that since A-rod played in the field he was more valuable than the MVP runner up David Ortiz, a designated hitter.
On July 27, 2005, Rodríguez turned 30 years old. In his career to that point, Rodríguez had more home runs, more runs batted in, more runs scored, and more base hits than all-time leaders Hank Aaron (HR and RBI), Rickey Henderson (runs scored), and Pete Rose (hits) did prior to their 30th birthdays.
Rodríguez's 2,000th hit, on July 21, 2006, was also his 450th home run. Six days shy of his 31st birthday, Rodríguez became the youngest player in baseball history to reach 450 home runs (surpassing Ken Griffey, Jr. by 267 days). He also became 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 got their 2,000th hits at age 30. All seven of the players are members of baseball's Hall of Fame.
In 2007, Rodriguez won the AL MVP Award with a 54 HRs(league leading), 154 RBIs(league leading), and a .314 Batting Average. Rodriguez would also receive the Silver Slugger and become an 11-time All-Star. That year, he was also 1st in: Slugging Percentage, Runs, Total Bases, Runs Created and Times on Base. On August 4, 2007 Rodriguez became the youngest player to hit 500 home runs in a 16-8 victory over the Kansas City Royals.
Despite Rodríguez's talent, history, and continued production, he is the most criticized player on the Yankees. It seems that despite any success Rodriguez may have as a player, his failure to help any of the teams he played for win a World Series have made Rodríguez a target for criticism. Despite his MVP season in 2005 and his pivotal role in defeating the Minnesota Twins in the 2004 ALDS, his relative struggles in 2004 and 2006 and failures in postseason play have left the fans with a bad taste. For example, in the postseason of 2005, Rodríguez had a meager .133 batting average and struck out 5 times. Also, despite performing extremely well for most of the 2004 postseason, he (like many Yankees) ceased to be an offensive threat during the final four games of the 2004 ALCS against the Boston Red Sox. His struggles in the 2006 season have only made matters worse for the Yankees and Rodríguez. Other than a decrease in offensive statistics in all categories, his fielding has taken a drastic turn to the worse. Rodríguez has almost doubled his amount of errors compared to his 2005 season.
Rodriguez derives much criticism for being unable to perform by getting a hit with runners in scoring position or other clutch situations. However, from 2003 to 2006, Rodríguez's batting average with the bases loaded is .371 with an on-base percentage of .422 (in 2006 so far, the numbers are .467 and .524 respectively). Rodríguez's other batting lines over this period include a .432 average with a runner on third (.385 in '06), .381 with a runner in scoring position (.413 in '06), and .392 with a runner in scoring position and 2 out (.489 in '06). Despite putting up gaudy numbers in the usual situations where pitchers struggle, Rodríguez's struggles seem to be more memorable than his successes. His contract, and his sub-par (for himself) season in [ ]bring out these struggles to the greatest extent. In the end, the argument is that Alex Rodríguez will put up the numbers at the end of the season but never seems perform when his team needs him most.
This argument was in question during the 2005 AL MVP race. Alex Rodríguez would win the award over the Boston Red Sox' David Ortiz. Although the overall scope of Rodríguez's statistics was superior, Ortiz had a flair for the dramatic; recording several memorable game-tying or game-winning hits that season. The drama of Ortiz's performances was frequently contrasted with Rodríguez's statistics, and some critics began to claim that Rodríguez put up his best offensive numbers when they were needed least. Rodríguez received 16 first-place votes compared to Ortiz's 11. Ortiz was handicapped in the voting due to being a designated hitter. No full-time designated hitter has ever won a Most Valuable Player award in Major League Baseball history. Rodríguez was also helped from his arguably good defense (by recording a low 12 errors in the field), whereas Ortiz played just 10 games in the field in 2005 and is considered a poor defender.
Another aspect in this argument is Rodríguez's lackluster postseason performance. However, over the course of his career, Rodríguez's postseason numbers are statistically indistinguishable from his regular-season record. Alike his performance during the regular season, Rodriguez is able to put up the gaudy numbers but fans still do not believe that Rodriguez has done anything memorable during the course of those games.
In May 2006, Rodríguez finally responded to the criticism directed at him. He said, "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."
Nonetheless, sportswriters alike fans have debated Alex Rodríguez's performance in the clutch. Some writers like 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 Rodríguez seems to be carrying his 32-ounce bat and the weight of the world into each at-bat?"  Other sportswriters like ESPN's D.J. Gallo openly mocked Rodríguez's harshest critics while discussing an off-day in the Yankee schedule: "Typical A-Fraud -- the Yankees manage to win back-to-back games against the Red Sox and he needs a day off. Pathetic.
- Selected by the Seattle Mariners in the 1st round (1st pick overall) of the free-agent draft on (June 3, 1993 - signed on August 30, 1993.
- Granted free agency on (October 30, 2000).
- Signed by the Texas Rangers on (January 26, 2001).
- Traded by the Texas Rangers with cash to the New York Yankees in exchange for Alfonso Soriano and a player to be named later on (February 16, 2004); Texas Rangers received Joaquin Arias on (April 23, ]2004).
- Alex Rodriguez has the second highest amount of home runs hit on one's birthday than any other player (5); this is an unoffical stat.
- He owns a Mercedes-Benz dealership in League City, Texas.