Alex Rodriguez

Alex RodriguezWhether or not Alex Rodriguez will get into the Baseball Hall of Fame depends on how forgiving the Baseball Writers are five years after he retires from the game. Rodriguez admitted to using steroids over a two-year period while with the Texas Rangers in the early 2000s, and his reputation has suffered for it. However, if he has been “clean” since that period, he has continued to put up stellar numbers for the New York Yankees, winning a pair of Most Valuable Player Awards for the Bombers.

Rodriguez was a coveted prospect when he signed with the Seattle Mariners out of high school in 1993. A tall shortstop, he made his way up the organizational ladder quickly, debuting at the age of 18 and earning a starting job in the big leagues by the time he was 20. He hit 40 or more homers in three consecutive seasons for the Mariners, before signing the most expensive contract in history with the Texas Rangers in 2001. He won three home run titles in Texas but his contract hung like an albatross around his neck, and with the Rangers going nowhere in the standings, he was shopped around in the 2003 off-season. He was traded to the Boston Red Sox but the deal was voided by Major League Baseball when the Players Union objected to the restructuring of his contract. A few weeks later he was dealt to the New York Yankees in a move that rocked the sports world.

In New York he admitted to his steroid use in Texas, struggled through a first season in The Bronx, was labeled the scapegoat of several Yankee post-season failures, and also managed to have a few phenomenal seasons. He won the MVP in 2005 and 2007, leading the league in homers each time. He became the first right-handed hitting Yankee to slug 50 homers in 2007, also driving in 156 runs. He finally won a World Series ring in 2009, hitting six homers in the post-season to silence some of his critics. But over his next three post-season series he hit .180 with no home runs.

Rodriguez moved to third base when he was acquired by the Yankees, since Derek Jeter was at shortstop. As he has aged he has seen more time at DH and has also been absent from the lineup due to frequent injuries, often to his legs.

Most Home Runs in a Single Decade
Babe Ruth (1920s) … 467
Alex Rodriguez (2000s) … 435
Jimmie Foxx (1930s) … 415
Mark McGwire (1990s) … 405
Harmon Killebrew (1960s) … 393
Ken Griffey Jr. (1990s) … 382
Hank Aaron (1960s) … 375
Jim Thome (2000s) … 368
Albert Pujols (2000s) … 366
Barry Bonds (1990s) … 361