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In 2007, American baseball player Alex Rodriguez became the youngest player in major league baseball history to hit 500 career home runs.
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In New York, Rodriguez continued to post big numbers. In 2007, he had his best season yet, batting .314, hitting 56 home runs and knocking in 154 batters to earn his second MVP award. That same year, on August 4, at age 32, he became the youngest player to hit 500 career home runs.
But for all his talent, Rodriguez has never proven to be the most popular player in the majors, or even on his team. His unpopularity peaked just before the start of the 2009 season, when he admitted to taking steroids earlier in his career, raising questions about the validity of his numbers.
For years he was also dogged by an inability to come up big in the postseason and lead his club to a World Series title. Rodriguez finally silenced the critics when he helped carry New York to a crown in 2009.
Off the field, his personal life has become the stuff of tabloids. Following years of rumors about Rodriguez's infidelity, his wife, Cynthia, left him in 2008 after he'd been linked to an affair with Madonna. Rodriguez later dated Cameron Diaz.
It looked like Rodriguez would go down in baseball history as one of the game's most prolific offensive players. In 2010, he became the seventh player in major league history to hit 600 career home runs. Two years later, in June 2012, he led the Yankees to a win over the Atlanta Braves, hitting his 23rd grand slam and matching the record of Hall of Famer Lou Gehrig.
Rodriguez, however, found himself under fire in early 2013. Already on the disabled list after hip surgery, he faced new allegations of using performance-enhancing drugs. These claims surfaced in a New Miami Times article published in late January. The news report linked Rodriguez to a Florida clinic run by Dr. Anthony "Tony" Bosch. Bosch reportedly supplied Rodriguez and several other sports stars allegedly received drugs banned in major league baseball.
After the performance-enhancing drug story ran, it appeared that Rodriguez's days with the New York Yankees were numbered. ESPN and the New York Daily News printed articles stating that the Yankees were seeking a way to end their contract with Rodriguez.
Rodriguez has denied doping allegations for years, most recently in January 2013, when new claims detailing his alleged drug use were published. In response to these recent allegations, Sitrick and Company, a public relations firm working with the baseball player, issued the following statement: "The news report about a purported relationship between Alex Rodriguez and Anthony Bosch are not true. Alex Rodriguez was not Mr. Bosch's patient, he was never treated by him and he was never advised by him."
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For some athletes, the risk of losing—or even being less than the best—is worse than the many consequences of doping in professional sports, and for decades, performance-enhancing drug controversies have made headlines around the world. Other athletes have garnered media attention, criminal charges and sporting suspensions for their recreational drug use. Biography.com examines some of the world's greatest athletes to ever fall from fame, whose names have been tarnished by drugs scandals, including Barry Bonds, Jose Canseco, Marion Jones, Andre Agassi, Floyd Landis and Lance Armstrong.
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