Better known by the nickname A-Rod, New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez is one of the most famous players in baseball today. Born in New York City, Rodriguez’s family moved to the Dominican Republic when he was four years old, only to return to Miami a short time later. Rodriguez’s father took for New Jersey not long after returning to the US, leaving his family behind.
It was while living in Florida that A-Rod began to excel at the sport, becoming the star player on his high school team. He was an All-American player while in his senior year and was the first high school player ever to try out for Team America.
After graduation, he signed a letter of intent to play baseball for the University of Miami; he would later decide to drop the baseball scholarship and instead go for the amateur draft at the age of 17.
When he was just over 18 years old, the Seattle Mariners signed him. Alex was fresh out of high school and the first eighteen year old to be signed in ten years, and was only the third 18-year-old short stop since 1900. His major league dreams would stop short that year as just a few months later was the baseball strike of 1994.
Rodriguez did not let the strike slow him down much and in 1996, he had his break out year. He took over as the Seattle Mariners short stop and quickly showed everyone what he was made of batting an impressive .358 average with 36 home runs and 123 RBI’s. This was the highest average of an American League right hand batter since DiMaggio. Plus it was the third highest ever for a short stop if any league. The year would continue with Alex having the highest totals in runs, hits, doubles, extra base hits, and slugging, ending the year as Major League Player of the Year and nearly the youngest to boot.
He would play with several more teams until in 2004 he signed with the New York Yankees. During his years with the Yankees, he would set more records of home runs; RBI’s and win Most Valuable Player in 2005 and again in 2007. Despite all his accomplishments, A-Rod would begin to receive criticism for being unable to perform well in clutch situations, that is under extreme pressure. Fans and sport writers alike would criticize his abilities. Much of this he simply takes in stride and has been quoted as saying, “I could care less. In my career, I’ve been hearing it for a long time. It will never stop until you win five or six World Series in a row, and hit a Joe Carter home run. I’ve done a lot of special things in this game, and for none of that to be considered clutch, it’s an injustice.” He must be doing something right however because in 2007 the Yankees and Rodriguez came to an agreement for a ten year contract at the tune of two hundred and seventy five million dollars and millions more if he breaks the home run record.
A-Rod’s personal life is also controversial; he has been seen with another woman and his marriage is reputed to be on the rocks. There have also been rumors that Rodriguez has had an affair with Madonna, something lent more credence by the singer’s own troubled marriage to filmmaker Guy Ritchie.