by Harold Friend
Alex Rodriguez has finally played a significant role in helping his team win the World Series. Until this season, many in the media fostered the belief that Alex Rodriguez was the major reason the Yankees had not been World Champions since 2000, which is patently false.
Solid Pitching Wins the World Series
The Yankees beat the Mets in the 2000 World Series because they had solid pitching. Teams don't become World Champions by battering the opposition. They become World Champions by stopping the opposition from scoring. When your opponent doesn't score, your opponent doesn't win.
Alex Rodriguez was in Texas when the Yankees suffered the worst of all defeats in the 2001 World Series. He was still in Texas when the Angels decimated the vaunted Yankees' starting rotation of Clemens, Pettitte, Mussina and Wells in the first round of the 2002 playoffs.
Alex Rodriguez wasn't managing the Yankees in the 2003 World Series when the Marlins beat a Yankees team whose manager allowed Jeff Weaver to enter a tie game in extra innings. Weaver promptly yielded a game winning home run.
A-Rod became a Yankee in 2004, the year the Yankees' pitching staff gave up 24 runs in the final four games of the second playoff round against Boston. Yankees pitchers had a 5.30 ERA in that series, and despite the myth that their offense stopped scoring runs after taking a three games to none lead, they actually scored 13 runs in the final four games.
In 2005 and 2007, A-Rod was the American League MVP. How does an MVP hinder his team's chances of becoming World Champions? This brings us to another myth.
Playoff and World Series Record
Alex Rodriguez has appeared in 54 post season games with a.302 batting average. In the first round, Alex has batted .279 with five home runs and 13 RBIs. In the second round, the player who will be ranked as the greatest third baseman in baseball history has batted .347, hit 7 home runs, and slugged a Bondsian .707.
In this year's World Series, A-Rod hit only .250, but after a horrible start, he had five hits in 12 at bats in the final four games. Alex led the Yankees in the playoffs and World Series with a .365 batting average, six home runs, 18 RBIs and 12 walks.
Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays, Ted Williams,and the Great Barry Bonds
Blaming Alex Rodriguez for the Yankees' recent lack of World Championships is like blaming the United States government for the War on Terror. Other baseball greats have been challenged in the playoffs or World Series.
One of the greatest of all players, Mickey Mantle, batted only .257 in 12 World Series, including .208 in 1953 and .120 in 1962. In the latter series, Willie Mays batted only .250 with no home runs. Willie batted .247 in his World Series appearances. Ted Williams batted .200, with no extra base hits, in his only World Series. The great Barry Bonds, who still holds the single season home run record, batted .216 in the playoffs.
Alex Rodriguez Helped the Yankees Win
Alex Rodriguez is an integral part of a World Championship team that is an offensive powerhouse. The 2009 Yankees hit 244 home runs, scored 915 runs, and won the World Series in 2009.
It is significant that the team didn't become dominant until Alex returned from hip surgery. A-Rod has done what was demanded of him. He hit in the clutch at the right time, and which is not a redundancy. References: