Alexander Emmanuel Rodriguez, nicknamed “A-Rod”, is a Dominican-American former professional baseball shortstop and third baseman. He played 22 seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Seattle Mariners, Texas Rangers, and New York Yankees. Rodriguez was one of the sport’s most highly touted prospects and is considered one of the greatest baseball players of all time. Rodriguez amassed a .297 batting average, 696 home runs, over 2,000 runs batted in (RBI), over 2,000 runs scored, and over 3,000 hits. He is a 14-time All-Star and won three American League (AL) Most Valuable Player (MVP) Awards, ten Silver Slugger Awards, and two Gold Glove Awards. Rodríguez is the career record holder for grand slams with 25. However, he led a highly controversial career due to signing two of the most lucrative sports contracts in history while incurring criticism from the media for his behavior and use of illegal performance-enhancing drugs.
The Mariners selected Rodriguez first overall in the 1993 MLB draft, and he debuted in the major leagues the following year at the age of 18. In 1996, he became the Mariners’ starting shortstop and finished second in voting for the AL MVP Award. Rodriguez’s combination of power, speed, and defense made him a cornerstone of the franchise, but he left the team via free agency after the 2000 season to join the Rangers. The 10-year, $252 million contract he signed was the richest in baseball history. He played at a high level in his three years with Texas, highlighted by his first AL MVP Award win in 2003, but the team failed to make the playoffs during his tenure. Prior to the 2004 season, Rodriguez was traded to the Yankees, for whom he converted to a third baseman due to incumbent shortstop Derek Jeter. In his first four seasons with New York, he was twice more named AL MVP. After opting out of his contract following the 2007 season, Rodriguez signed a new 10-year, $275 million deal with the Yankees, extending his record for the sport’s most lucrative contract. He became the youngest player ever to hit 500 home runs, reaching the milestone in 2007. He won his first World Series in 2009, which was the first year of the new Yankee Stadium. The following year, he became the career leader in home runs by a player of Hispanic descent. Toward the end of his career, Rodriguez was hampered by hip and knee injuries, which caused him to exclusively become a designated hitter. He played his final game as a Yankee on August 12, 2016.
In February 2009, after previously denying use of performance-enhancing drugs, including during a 2007 interview with Katie Couric on 60 Minutes, Rodriguez admitted to using steroids, saying he used them from 2001 to 2003 when playing for Rangers due to “an enormous amount of pressure” to perform. While recovering from a hip injury in 2013, Rodriguez made headlines by feuding with team management over his rehabilitation and for having allegedly obtained performance-enhancing drugs as part of the Biogenesis baseball scandal. In August 2013, MLB suspended him 211 games for his involvement in the scandal, but he was allowed to play while appealing the punishment. Had the original suspension been upheld, it would have been the longest non-lifetime suspension in Major League Baseball history. After an arbitration hearing, the suspension was reduced to 162 games, keeping him off the field for the entire 2014 season.
After his baseball career, Rodriguez became a media personality, serving as a broadcaster for Fox Sports 1, a cast member of Shark Tank and a member of the ABC News network.
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