Alex Rodriguez biography
Born in New York City in 1975, Alex Rodriguez made his major league debut with the Seattle Mariners at age 18, playing shortstop. He later played for the Texas Rangers and New York Yankees, and in 2007 became the youngest player to hit 500 career home runs. His career faltered after his 2009 admission that he had used performance-enhancing drugs from 2001 to 2003, but he went on to help the Yankees win the 2009 World Series.
Professional athlete Alexander Emmanuel Rodriguez was born on July 27, 1975, in New York City, Alex Rodriguez was the youngest of Victor Rodriguez and Lourdes Navarro's three children. At an early age, baseball was a central part of Rodriguez's life. His father was a former pro catcher in his native Dominican Republic and a passionate New York Mets fan.
"I saw how passionate he was about the game," Rodriguez once recalled. "How closely he paid attention to it. That rubbed off on me."
At age 4, Rodriguez moved with his family to the Dominican Republic, where he first started playing baseball. When he reached fifth grade, however, the Rodriguez family was on the move again, this time relocating to Miami. Not long afterward, Victor and Lourdes separated, leaving Rodriguez's mother to raise the family on her own.
In high school, Rodriguez was a gifted football player, playing quarterback at Westminster Christian School, a small private school in Miami. On the baseball field, Rodriguez was an even bigger star. In his junior year, he hit .477 and stole 42 bases in just 35 games while leading the school to the 1992 state championship. By his senior year, Rodriguez had made the decision to concentrate fully on baseball, and scouts jammed the school's ball field to watch the 6-foot 3-inch, 195-pound shortstop play.
Rodriguez had already committed to attend the University of Miami, but when he was selected number one overall in Major League Baseball's 1993 amateur draft by the Seattle Mariners, he went pro with a three-year, $1.3 million contract.
Rodriguez's rise through the Seattle system was meteoric. In 1994 made his major league debut. He got just 54 at-bats that year and 142 the following season. In 1996, however, A-Rod, as he quickly came to be known, was a full-timer and a star. That year he batted .358, clubbed 36 home runs and knocked in 123 runners to finish second in the MVP race.
Over the next decade, Rodriquez proved to be in baseball's best all-around player, putting up gaudy numbers that put him on track to be one of the game's all-time greats.
In 2001, Rodriguez signed the most lucrative contract in baseball history when he inked a 10-year, $252 million deal with the Texas Rangers. Even with the pressure of the contract, the shortstop's numbers didn't decline—he was named MVP in 2003—but the team around him never took off like he'd hoped. Following the 2003 season, he was traded to the New York Yankees, taking over third base so the club's future hall of fame shortstop, Derek Jeter, could stay put.
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.
Legacy in Question
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. In response to allegations made in January 2013, 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."
More recently, in June 2013, Rodriguez, along with fellow baseball star Ryan Braun, came under speculation amidst an MLB investigation of Biogenesis of America founder Tony Bosch. Reports have alleged that Bosch supplied performance-enhancing drugs to nearly 20 professional baseball players, including Rodriguez and Braun. Upon proving that A-Rod participated in this doping scandal, he was liable to be suspended for up to 100 games by the MLB, according to reports.
In anticipation of an announcement, Rodriguez's representatives attempted to negotiate a possible settlement with Major League Baseball that would not result in a lifetime ban. Although the repercussions of his alleged steroid use have yet to come down, Rodriguez's lawyer has already confirmed that he will fight any discipline—whether a ban or suspension—that is given to him for the allegations.
On August 5, 2013, Rodriguez got the news he had been dreading. The league's commissioner, Bud Selig, announced in a statement to the press that Rodriguez would be suspended for 211 games without pay. This suspension would bench him for the rest of the 2013 season and the 2014 season as well. The penalty covers both Rodriguez's drug use and "for attempting to cover up his violations of the program by engaging in a course of conduct intended to obstruct and frustrate the office of the commissioner's investigation," according to ABC News. Rodriguez appealed his suspension on August 7—he is allowed to play while the suspension is appealed—with the arbitration hearing taking place on September 30, 2013.
Rodriguez filed two lawsuits in relation to his athletic career soon after beginning his appeal. On October 3, 2013, he filed a lawsuit against MLB and Selig, alleging that they "engaged in tortious and egregious conduct with one and only one goal... to destroy the reputation and career of Alex Rodriguez." The allegation stems from Rodriguez's extended suspension of 211 games, whereas 12 other players involved in the doping scandal received a suspension of 50 games each. The following day, Rodriguez also filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against Dr. Christopher Ahmad—Yankees team physician—and the New York Presbyterian Hospital.
On January 11, 2014, MLB arbitrator Fredric Horowitz ruled that Rodriguez remain suspended for the 2014 regular season—the season amounts to a reduced suspension of 162 games. In response, Rodriguez filed yet another lawsuit against Horowitz and the players union to overturn his suspension. Rodriguez claims that Horwitz "refused to entertain evidence that was pertinent and material to the outcome of the arbitration," and that the union failed in its "duty of fair representation."