Alex Rodriguez

From Academic Kids

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Alex Rodriguez taking his position at 3rd base at the beginning of a new inning

Alexander Emanuel Rodriguez (born July 27, 1975 in New York City), nicknamed A-Rod, is widely regarded as one of the best players in Major League Baseball today and at a young age is already being talked about among the all-time greats. Starting his major league career with the Seattle Mariners, he signed an unprecedented free-agent deal with the Texas Rangers, before being traded to the New York Yankees. Rodriguez began his career as a shortstop, but switched positions to third base upon joining the Yankees. In 2003 he became the youngest player in major league history to reach 300 home runs, and, on June 8, 2005, he became the first to to hit 400 home runs before the age of 30. He has been married to the former Cynthia Scurtis since November 2, 2002: the couple's first child, Natasha Alexander, was born on November 18, 2004.

On November 17, 2003, Rodriguez won his first American League Most Valuable Player award. It was the second time in MLB history that a player of a team finishing last in the league was given the award (Andre Dawson also won the award for the last place Chicago Cubs). The following month the Rangers tried unsuccessfully to trade Rodriguez and his hefty salary to the Boston Red Sox. The Players Association blocked the deal, however, because the Red Sox wanted to cut Rodriguez's salary. Then on January 25, 2004, he was named captain of the Rangers. Less than three weeks later, he was traded to the Yankees, the first reigning MVP to be traded in the history of Major League Baseball.



Born in New York City, Rodrguez moved back with his parents to their native Dominican Republic when he was 4. They moved to Miami, Florida 4 years later. There, Alex's father announced he had to go to New York for a short time; he never returned. Rodrguez has said in interviews he can forgive his father for abandoning the family, but that he will never forget.

Rodrguez was a star player at Miami Westminster Christian High School. His skills were rewarded when the Seattle Mariners made the 17-year old the #1 pick of the amateur draft in 1993. He made a rapid rise through the organization and made his major league debut at just 18 years of age, becoming one of the youngest players to appear in a game at shortstop.

Early career with the Seattle Mariners

After his major league campaign in 1994 was cut short by the players' strike, he split most of 1995 between Seattle and their AAA club 30 miles away in Tacoma before staying on the major league roster in August, making a pair of postseason appearances on the Mariners' playoff run. One of his most important contributions in the playoffs was consoling second baseman Joey Cora, who memorably broke down in tears after the Mariners' loss in the League Championship Series.

He took over as the regular shortstop the following year, and immediately became a superstar, hitting 36 home runs and pacing the American League with a .358 batting average, and leading the league in runs, total bases, and doubles; great numbers even by the standards of the Kingdome, one of the American League's best hitter's parks. He came close to being the youngest MVP in baseball history, but fell 3 points short to Juan Gonzlez; possibly denying him this honor were the two Seattle-area sportswriters who voted for the award, as they gave him 8th and 9th place votes.

Rodriguez was a favorite with Mariners fans. He hit for the cycle with them in 1997, but slumped that year with only 23 home runs and a "mere" .300 average; the Mariners nonetheless won the division but were quickly eliminated from the playoffs. He recovered with authority in 1998 by becoming the 3rd member of the 40 homers/40 stolen bases club, racking up 42 HR and 46 SB. Despite missing 30+ games with an injury and playing home games at Safeco Field (a considerably less hitter-friendly ballpark than the Kingdome) for the second half of the season, he matched his HR total in 1999.

The Mariners entered 2000 with A-Rod as the cornerstone of the franchise, having dealt superstars Randy Johnson and Ken Griffey, Jr. in the past two seasons. Rodriguez continued to put up great numbers as the team's remaining superstar, and hit 41 more HR's in 2000 as he hit .316, doing so playing in the best pitcher's park in the AL. Winning the AL West in 2000, Rodriguez hit well in the playoffs, but the Mariners lost to the World Series champion New York Yankees in the LCS. He still made an appearance in the Series, sitting in the stands of Shea Stadium watching his friend Derek Jeter play in that year's all-New York World Series between the Yankees and New York Mets.

Texas Rangers

A free agent after the season, Rodriguez, who wanted to go to a Series-caliber team, was immediately rumored to be heading to the Mets because of his appearance at Shea, but instead chose to go to the Texas Rangers (last in their division in 2000), signing what is the largest contract in American sports history, a 10-year contract worth an astounding $252 million. Because of the contract, considered outrageous by many fans, Mariners fans that loved him immediately turned on him for taking the money and running instead of staying with a winner; to this day he's regularly booed every time he returns to Seattle.

Despite the enormous pressure carried by the contract, Rodriguez continued to produce, and has been even better than before. He hit 52 home runs in 2001, and followed that up with a major league best 57 home runs in 2002, the most ever for a shortstop. He put a bookend on that year by winning his first Gold Glove Award. Unfortunately, the Rangers made no real improvement in the two years he played there, finishing last both times, and it likely cost him the MVP award in 2002, as he finished second to fellow shortstop Miguel Tejada. Although Tejada had lesser numbers than Rodriguez, he played for a championship-caliber team. The Mariners didn't miss him; they won 116 games in their first year without him.

Rodriguez 's last season with Texas, 2003, was another productive year for A-Rod. He hit .298 with 47 home runs, won his second consecutive Gold Glove Award and was named the league's MVP, despite the Rangers remaining mired in last place.

New York Yankees

On February 15, 2004, after a period in which he had been courted by the Boston Red Sox and named as the Rangers' captain, Rodriguez was traded to the New York Yankees for second baseman Alfonso Soriano and a player to be named later. In the trade, the Rangers will have to pay $67 million of the $179 million left on Rodriguez's contract. Since New York already had a star shortstop in team captain Derek Jeter, the trade developed only after New York's third baseman, Aaron Boone, suffered a season-ending knee injury while playing a game of pickup basketball during the off-season. After Rodriguez agreed to switch positions and play third base, the deal between New York and Texas was consummated.

In addition to moving from shortstop to third, Rodriguez had to make another change upon joining the Yankees. He had worn uniform number 3 his entire career, but that number on the Yankees is retired in honor of Babe Ruth. There was some speculation as to what his number would be, but in spring training he showed up with uniform number 13, answering the question.

Rodriguez performed well, though average by his standards, in his first season with the Yankees, hitting .286 with 36 home runs and 106 runs batted in, his seventh consecutive season with at least 100 RBI. Near the end of the season, Yankees manager Joe Torre moved Rodriguez to the No. 2 spot in the batting order, directly behind Jeter.

During the 2004 American League Championship Series against the Boston Red Sox, Alex Rodriguez caused controversey when he "slapped" the baseball out of pitcher Bronson Arroyo's glove when running to first base. Rodriguez was called safe at first, and Derek Jeter scored from first base. But the umpires huddled and ended up calling him out, which made Jeter return to first base. This action by Rodriguez has given him a bad image, especially among Red Sox fans.


Alex Rodriguez's salary of $25,705,118 is the highest in Major League Baseball in the 2005 season.

2005 Season Highlights

On June 8th, Rodriguez hit his 400th career home run, becoming the youngest player in Major League history to do so at 29 years and 316 days old. Ken Griffey, Jr. was the previous record holder by reaching 400 home runs at 30 years and 141 days old.

Alex Rodriguez Stadium

In 2003, Alex Rodriguez gave a $10 million gift to the University of Miami to build a new baseball stadium. While in high school, Rodriguez had signed a letter of intent with the University to play baseball. He had even enrolled in classes, but on his way to the first class he met a scout for the Mariners who offered a large signing bonus and he signed ending his college career before it began. Had he attended the first class, the Mariners would have been unable by Major League Baseball rules to sign him, and no one would have been able to draft him for 2 more years.

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