by Denise I Smithson
Known as A-Rod to fans and teammates, Alex Rodriguez plays third base for the New York Yankees. Born in New York City's Washington Heights neighborhood, Rodriguez moved to the Dominican Republic at the age of four. However, the family soon returned to the US and settled in Miami. Soon after, is father abandoned Alex and his mother, moving to New Jersey.
In Miami Rodriguez would begin his baseball career playing for his high school team. It was here that Alex would go All-American his senior year and be the first high school player to ever to try out for Team America.
He signed a letter of intent to join the University of Miami baseball team after finishing high school. However Rodriguez instead opted to forgo the scholarship and instead enter the amateur draft.
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.
Because of this disruption, A-Rod didn't get a chance to really shine until the 1996 season, when he batted an incredible .358 average, scored 36 home runs and 123 RBIs, the highest averages for any right handed batter in the American League since Joe Di Maggio! This was a stellar season for Rodtriguez, with the highest total of hits, doubles, extra base hits and runs in the Major Leagues - he finished the season with the Major League Player of the Year title.
Rodriguez continued with the Mariners until becoming a free agent and playing with the Texas Rangers for a short time. In 2004, Rodriguez was signed by the New York Yankees, where he still plays today. He has continued to play at a level few others can match, winning the MVP titles in 2005 and 2007. He has been criticized by sportswriters and fans for sometimes failing to hold up under pressure, something which has not bothered him; says Rodriguez: "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." The Yankees apparently do not agree with this criticism, having signed him to a 10 year, $275 million contract. If Rodriguez breaks the home run record while on the team, he stands to make millions more.
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.
About the Author:
How much do you know about baseball? Nothing But Sports is a great place to brush up on your sports trivia and learn how to swing that bat.
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