Alex Rodriguez: A Legacy of Gold or the Falling of a Star?

 

 

“And with the first pick of the 1993 Major League Baseball Amateur Draft, the Seattle Mariners select, Alex Rodriguez of Westminster Christian High School.” 

Twenty-plus years ago, this sound resonated across the baseball world, as the 18 year-old Alex Rodriguez would enter the lives of baseball fans all over, and begin to leave his stamp on the game. But, on the afternoon of August 7, 2016, Alex Rodriguez, one of baseball’s greats, announced his forthcoming retirement. Friday, August 12th, the baseball world will see Rodriguez suit up in pinstripes for the final time. The Yankees are set to play the opener of a three game series with Tampa Bay.

Rodriguez’s career could easily be labeled as illustrious or grand; but in the same token could be seen as tarnished as the former superstar’s career took a turn for the worstdepreciating over the past five or so years. Recently, A-Rod has not been a figure seen often in the Yankee’s lineup. Instead, the 41 year-old has been a mainstay on the bench, batting a measly .204. With the announcing his of retirement, he will now obtain the role of special advisor to the team and still be somewhat of a presence in the locker room and on the bench.   ​    Although, Rodriguezranks 4th all-time in home runs (696), 3rd in runs batted in (2084), 6th in extra-base hits, posted over 3,000 hits, and is a 14-time all-star; in 2009 he confessed that he used performance enhancing drugs issued from an anti-aging clinic in Coral Gables, Florida.Even though the steroid era consumed a fair share of Rodriguez’s career and was a norm around the league during the time he was suspected of using, hicareer and image declineddrastically after his confession

Since then, fansand the majority of the baseball community labeled the once beloved star as “A-Fraud” and a cheater. Many fans and writers immediately questioned his credibility, and the thought of Cooperstown began to fade.  But, why not sit back and take in all the glory of this man’s career? This does not mean we turn blind eye to the 2001-2003 PED campaign of Rodriguez’s career. Instead, we focus in on the entertainment he did produce -- along with the stats that were generated outside of this time frame. Statistically speaking, the totals that A-Rod produced from 2001-2003 were not that out of line compared to the seasons before and prior to. According to Tristan H. Cockcroft of espn.com from his February 9, 2009 article on Rodriguez, “his numbers don't at all paint the portrait of a slugger whose numbers were juiced up during an isolated three-year span of his career.” 

In fact, between 1996, when he entered the league, and 2000, a year before his suspected steroid use, Rodriguez slash line went as followed: .310 BA, .365 OBP, .558 SLG, .923 OPS, 17.0AB/HR. During the years of his PED campaign, A-Rod’s averages included, .311 BA, .403 OBP, .618 SLG, 1.021 OPS, 12.1 AB/HR. Now in the years following his use he produced averages such as, .302 BA, .401 OBP, .578 SLG, .980 OPS, 13.5AB/HRNow looking closer at these numbers, the group of averages outside of the time frame of his said use of performance enhancing drugs are not overwhelmingly different. Along with that, the 2001-2003 PED campaign was actually the peak years of Rodriguez’s career, ages 25-27. With this being said, this age range for many Major League Baseball players is a range where offensive production and growth tend to spike. So, on the wide spectrum of things, the “tainted” years of A-Rod’s career were not that far out of line in regards to his projected career trend statistically. 

So, let’s not be so quick to label Rodriguez’s career as tainted or tarnished. Let’s remember him for the some of the most explosive seasons by an individual in MLB history -- like when he hit .358 with 36 long balls and 123 RBIs his first full season in the league. Remember the 2005 and 2007 MVP campaigns with Yankees. Remember the 500th home run mark, when he became the youngest to do so,and the 3,000th hit. Remember greatness.   

 



 

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