July 27, 1975 - Present
Birthplace: New York, NY (Dominican Heritage)
Height: 6'3" Weight: 210
Warm welcome for A-Rod in NYC.
"Congratulations to A-Rod, I knew you could do it. You are a great man, an impressive baseball player, and a role model. I love the game of baseball, and I love to see players with heart and drive like yours who continue the spirit of the game," Hall of Fame Shortstop, Ernie Banks.
"Rodriguez’s bat speed is as good as any he has ever seen. “I had Mike Schmidt in Philly, Don Mattingly in New York, Ryne Sandberg in Chicago, but I haven’t seen too many guys who could get their bat through the hitting zone faster than Alex," former Seattle Mariners' batting coach, Lee Elia.“The way he’s going, someday he might bat .400 and hit 60 home runs,” said former Boston Red Sox GM, Dan Duquette. “He’s the best young talent I’ve seen in years.”
Alexander Emmanuel Rodriguez (A-Rod) was born in New York City on July 27, 1975 and lived there with his family -- parents, Lourdes and Victor, his older brother Joe and sister Suzy until he was four years old.
At the age of four, his parents moved back to their native land -- the Dominican Republic. It was there where Alex first learned and played the game of baseball.
Four years later his family moved back to the United States, settling in Miami, Florida. Alex started playing Khoury League baseball, sponsored by the Boys Club in Coconut Grove (Miami). A league which he still keeps in touch with, "I've always been close with the league, and I recently donated $25,000 to it. I have fond memories, and I think back about those days all the time," said Rodriguez.
At the age of nine, when Alex was in the fifth grade, his father left the home, leaving his mother Lourdes to provide for three kids. She worked two jobs to make sure there was always food on the table and enough to provide for a private education. As the baby of the family, Alex was shocked and he kept thinking his dad just step out momentarily. "I kept thinking my father would come back, but he never did," said Alex during an interview with Sports Illustrated. "But it was O.K., all the love I had for him I just gave to my mother. She deserved it."
It was a tough experience for Alex as his mother had to raise three children on a small income as a secretary and a waitress. So when Alex excelled in baseball at Westminster Christian High School, he knew he wanted to become a professional baseball player and make a lot of money from it.
Alex was a tall, lanky kid who played his favorite position -- shortstop. He worked hard on his defense and became great at playing that position, but he was a horrible hitter. He didn't have much bat speed or power so the coach always batted him eighth or ninth, so he started lifting weights and took extra batting practice.
Alex started hitting with power and became a prolific hitter, so much that as a sophomore in high school he participated in the U.S. Junior Olympic baseball team. That was a huge boost of confidence for Alex as competing at an international level was a significant part of his early baseball years. Alex finished high school baseball career with a .419 batting average with 17 homers, 70 RBIs, and 90 steals in 100 games.
In the summer of 1993, following high school graduation, Alex was approached by several major league baseball scouts. His dream of playing in the major leagues was about to come true. The Seattle Mariners chose him as their #1 choice in the June 1993 draft -- Alex was just 17 years old.
At the time he didn't want to be a Mariner. It was too far from home. After meeting Tommy Lasorda, he found himself wanting to be a Dodger. Negotiations between the Rodriguez’s family and the Mariners turned ugly with his adviser/agent, Scott Boras allowing correspondence to take place only by fax.
Then finally, on Aug. 30, just hours before Rodriguez was to begin classes at the University of Miami, he and the Mariners agreed to a three-year, $1.3 million contract.
Now Rodriguez had to prove himself in the big leagues.
In 1994, his first full season as a professional, he played at all four levels in the Mariners organization, including a month with the big club. He made his major league debut at 18---becoming just the third shortstop to do so since 1900---but hit only .204 in 17 games and was sent back to Calgary, which at that time was where the Mariners’ Triple A team played.
After the ‘94 season Rodriguez played winter league ball in the Dominican Republic, where he had spent part of his childhood. “It was the toughest experience of my life,” Rodriguez says of his three months of winter ball, in which he batted only .179. “I just got my tail kicked and learned how hard this game can be. It was brutal, but I recommend it to every young player.”
In 1996, Alex began his first full year in the Major Leagues. Rodriguez hit .358 with 36 home runs, 123 RBIs, 141 runs scored, and 54 doubles all along playing excellent defense at shortstop. He became the 14th youngest player to make the All-Star team at 20 years old, 11 months and 18 days. He was 3 points shy of the MVP award and on the brink to stardom. He is now recognized as the new breed of shortstops who can field and hit for power, replacing current legends like Cal Ripken, Jr. and Ozzie Smith.
The following years, Alex was recognized as one of the great shortstops in the game. In 1999, he joined the exclusive 40/40 club (40 home runs and 40 stolen bases in the same year), a feat which has only been accomplished by Barry Bonds (1993) and Jose Canseco (1988).
The 2000 season was full of distractions for A-Rod. The Seattle fans and media wanted him to stay, as did the Mariners, but a contract agreement was never reached and A-Rod became a free agent.
Despite the distractions, Rodriguez continued to put up another 40 home run/100 RBI season, which helped propel the Mariners back to the playoffs. Despite hitting .371 against Chicago and New York, Rodriguez and the Mariners failed to reach the World Series one more time. It would be the last season for Rodriguez in Seattle.
In the winter of 2000, Alex Rodriguez with the help of his agent Scott Boras landed a 10-year, $252 million deal with the Texas Rangers. A deal which is still the richest contract in sports history.
In his first season (2001) with the Texas Rangers, A-Rod was under the microscope and everyone questioned his huge salary. He was constantly pelted with questions about his large contract, but A-Rod took it well and continue to perform on the field. A-Rod went out and had his finest season as a pro, hitting an astonishing 52 home runs and collecting a career high, 135 RBIs.
His 52 home runs in 2001 surpassed a 43-year old record among shortstops.
On September 23, 2001, against the Anaheim Angels, A-Rod hit his 48th home run of the season, breaking Ernie Banks' major league record for most home runs in a season by a shortstop. The legendary hall of famer, Ernie Banks had set the record with 47 in 1958 with playing with the Chicago Cubs.
"I am very happy for him," Texas manager Jerry Narron said. "He's the best shortstop in the history of the game. I believe there isn't another player like him that has done as much as he has for his team. What he brings to the club is leadership and enthusiasm. He's a special guy and is a better man than he is a player."
Ernie Banks sent A-Rod this message, "Congratulations to A-Rod, I knew you could do it. You are a great man, an impressive baseball player, and a role model. I love the game of baseball, and I love to see players with heart and drive like yours who continue the spirit of the game.''
A-Rod has gone to the playoffs three times with the Seattle Mariners, but has never gone to the World Series. His career post-season average is .340 and had a .371 (13-35) batting average in 9 post-season games with the Mariners in 2000. In the 6-game loss to the NY Yankees in the 2000 American League Championship series, A-Rod batted .409 (9-22) with 2 homers and 5 RBIs.
In February 2004, the New York Yankees made a blockbuster trade when they acquired Alex Rodriguez, the 2003 American League MVP from the Texas Rangers for second baseman Alfonso Soriano and a player to be named."This is a dream come true playing in New York where I was born," said Rodríguez at his NYC press conference. "I feel overjoyed to play for a great manager like Joe Torre and for such a great team like the Yankees."
The Yankees will pay 15 million per year to A-Rod in 2004, 2005 and 2006, $16 million in 2007 and 2008, $17 million in 2009 and $18 million in 2010. The Rangers will pay A-Rod $3 million in 2004, $6 million in 2005 and 2006, $7 million in 2007, $8 million in 2009 and $6 million in 2010 for their share.
A-Rod will move from his usual shortstop position and will play third base for the Yankees.
Rodriguez lifts weights at the team clubhouse six days a week to keep himself in tip-top shape and pampers himself like a matinee idol. He washes his face with Clinique soap, gets his hair cut every 10 days and indulges in a monthly manicure and pedicure. And nothing stands between Rodriguez and his four-times-daily flossing: “I’m big into teeth.”
Rodriguez also gets a lot of attention from the ladies, “Everywhere we go, women go nuts,” says former Mariners' teammate catcher John Marzano.
In 2001, People Magazine named A-Rod as one of the "50 Most Beautiful People in the World."
Besides being rich and beautiful, A-Rod likes to work with children. In 1998, he founded the Alex Rodriguez Foundation which works extensively with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Miami, hosting an annual dinner to raise money for that organization.
He lives in Miami in the off-season and has two dogs (one was given to him by Jose Canseco), one in each of his homes. His idol is Cal Ripkin Jr. and he likes playing basketball and golf in the off-season.
In November 2002, A-Rod married his longtime girlfriend, Cynthia Scurtis in a private wedding in Dallas. A reception was conducted at his home in Highland Park, an upscale Dallas suburb. Among the guests were former Baltimore star Cal Ripken Jr., Rodriguez's boyhood idol.
What A-Rod likes in a women is “simplicity, intelligence and confidence.” He also doesn't like women taller than him. Not a big problem since A-Rod is 6'3" inches tall.
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