Major League Baseball has been around since 1869, and in 2016 we may have MLB’s most controversial player ever in New York Yankees star Alex Rodriguez.
‘A-Rod’ as he is famously known as, was suspended 211 games in August of 2013 . An arbitration hearing later reduced the suspension to 162 games, meaning Rodriguez would be off the field for the 2014 season. The suspension came as a result of Rodriguez’s involvement in baseball’s Biogenesis scandal.
Rodriguez was suspended in 2013 after Brewers star Ryan Braun was also suspended for his involvement in Biogenesis. 12 other players accepted MLB’s 50-game suspension for their role in Biogenesis, while Rodriguez and Braun both saw their suspensions go over 50 games.
Braun and Rodriguez are similar in both ways, but Rodriguez is different, much different. They both lied and said they didn’t take performance enhancing drugs, but to public knowledge Braun was only on PED’s for one year. Rodriguez was on PED’s from 2001-2003 when he was a member of the Texas Rangers.
Rodriguez said he experimented with steroids because he felt pressure to live up to the 10-year $252 million contract the Rangers gave him:
“When I arrived in Texas in 2001, I felt an enormous amount of pressure,” Rodriguez said. “I felt like I had all the weight of the world on top of me, and I needed to perform — and perform at a high level — every day.
“Back then, it was a different culture. It was very loose. I was young, I was stupid, I was naïve. I wanted to prove to everyone that I was worth being one of the greatest players of all-time.
“I did take a banned substance, and for that I’m very sorry. I’m deeply regretful. I’m sorry for that time, I’m sorry to my fans, I’m sorry to my fans in Texas. It wasn’t until then that I ever thought about substances of any kind. Since then, I’ve proved to myself and to everyone that I don’t need any of that.”
104 players tested positive in MLB”s 2003 testing program including Rodriguez.
“I felt like I was going up against the whole world,” he said. “I just signed this enormous contract, I got unbelievable negative press, for lack of a better term. We were all bad at the time. I felt like I needed something, a push, without over-investigating what I was taking, to get me to the next level.”
If you read these quotes by Rodriguez without having any prior knowledge or background about him, you would assume that he is an honest man for coming out and saying he had made a mistake. There’s one thing about Rodriguez that rubs people the wrong way.
In December of 2007, Rodriguez did an interview with Katie Couric on CBS’ “60 Minutes.” He told Couric that he never took steroids, human growth hormone or any other performance-enhancing substance.
Rodriguez was never suspended for this, but in 2013 MLB made up for lost time, if you will, as noted above by spending him for the entirety of the 2014 MLB season.
Despite all the controversy, Rodriguez’s numbers match-up with MLB’s all-time greats. Rodriguez will enter the 2016 season with these following all-time ranks:
Home runs: 4th
Runs batted in: 4th
Base on balls: 39th
Stolen Bases: 132nd
Batting average: 162nd
On-base percentage: 107th
Slugging percentage: 22nd
Rodriguez without a doubt is a sure-fire hall of fame baseball player, but as past steroid users like Sammy Sosa, Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, and others have found it, it’s very difficult to get into baseball’s highest honor with a tainted resume.
In my mind, Alex Rodriguez the player is a sure-fire hall of famer. Rodriguez the person is not. The National Baseball Hall of Fame wants players that are great on and of the field and ones that don’t take ‘shortcuts’ if you will. Kind of like Rodriguez’s former-Yankee teammate Derek Jeter.
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