July 27 – Happy Birthday Alex Rodriguez

Update: This original post was written during the 2010 season. I’ve added the first paragraph in August of 2013.

As a student of Yankee history, I find myself wondering how will Yankee fans fifty years from now look back at the behavior of A-Rod from the 2012 postseason onward.  Ryan Dempster did  something I didn’t think was possible. He made me root for Alex Rodriguez again. Don’t get me wrong, I still wish the greedy and self-absorbed A-Rod had never been a member of my favorite team’s roster but what Dempster did when he threw at Rodriguez was gutless. It was also stupid. In fact, from this point forward, I will be referring to the Boston pitcher as Ryan Dumb-ster.

As A-Rod celebrates his 38th birthday and continues his now-sputtering quest to become Baseball’s all-time home run king, you would think he is a lot more at peace with himself than he was just two years ago at this time. I believe the key is that he has finally stopped trying to portray himself one way to the public while living his private life in a completely different way.

I did not become a true fan of A-Rod the player until 2007, when two things happened simultaneously. First, he had the most incredible year on the field of any Yankee I’ve ever seen play the game. Secondly, he learned how to say “no comment” whenever the New York media asked him questions that were not about his play on the field.

Then, A-Rod and his agent, Scott Boras orchestrated that tasteless and clueless announcement during the 2007 World Series that A-Rod was opting out of his Yankee contract. Even though the move did end up making millions more Yankee dollars for Rodriguez, it was a public relations disaster for him at the same time.

By the time 2008 rolled around, A-Rod was still saying no comment to the reporters but the papparazzi photos of his extra marital actions started speaking a lot louder than his words. With the Yankees struggling with injuries under then new manager, Joe Girardi, the sports pages of the New York tabloids were filled with photos of Rodriguez in night time action. Unfortunately, none of those photos showed A-Rod with a baseball uniform on.

Then during the spring of 2009 we learned that A-Rod did take steroids. So in the space of just two and a half pinstripe seasons, Rodriguez’s actions verified his greed, his marital infidelity and his cheating on the field, a sort of modern day ballplayer’s triple crown. But then came the Yankees’ glorious ’09 post season run, with Alex leading the way with some of the most impressive clutch hitting I’ve seen during my fifty years as an avid fan of MLB. He had reversed his reputation as a perennial goat of October, captured his elusive World Championship ring and gained the somewhat begrudging adoration of Big Apple fans all at the same time. It seemed too good to be true and perhaps it was. This past year we learned that Rodriguez visited, Dr Anthony Galea, the recently convicted Canadian “blood doctor” without telling the Yankee front-office.

So like many Yankee fans, I’m still wondering who this superstar is. The one good thing is that the newest version of A-Rod no longer attempts to profusely deny his faults. Instead, he just refuses to discuss them with the media, which is perfectly OK by me. The one I’ve watched play in pinstripes these past eight seasons is certainly one of the most talented baseball players I’ve seen in the last half-century and I guess I’m hoping that is how he will be remembered.

Ironically, this Yankee who stopped talking about himself shares his birthday with another Yankee who never could. This utility-infielder and this Yankee starting pitcher from the 1950′s were also born on July 27th.

Year Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
2004 NYY 155 698 601 112 172 24 2 36 106 28 80 131 .286 .375 .512 .888
2005 NYY 162 715 605 124 194 29 1 48 130 21 91 139 .321 .421 .610 1.031
2006 NYY 154 674 572 113 166 26 1 35 121 15 90 139 .290 .392 .523 .914
2007 NYY 158 708 583 143 183 31 0 54 156 24 95 120 .314 .422 .645 1.067
2008 NYY 138 594 510 104 154 33 0 35 103 18 65 117 .302 .392 .573 .965
2009 NYY 124 535 444 78 127 17 1 30 100 14 80 97 .286 .402 .532 .933
2010 NYY 137 595 522 74 141 29 2 30 125 4 59 98 .270 .341 .506 .847
2011 NYY 99 428 373 67 103 21 0 16 62 4 47 80 .276 .362 .461 .823
2012 NYY 122 529 463 74 126 17 1 18 57 13 51 116 .272 .353 .430 .783
19 Yrs 2524 11163 9662 1898 2901 512 30 647 1950 318 1217 2032 .300 .384 .560 .945
NYY (9 yrs) 1249 5476 4673 889 1366 227 8 302 960 141 658 1037 .292 .387 .538 .925
SEA (7 yrs) 790 3515 3126 627 966 194 13 189 595 133 310 616 .309 .374 .561 .934
TEX (3 yrs) 485 2172 1863 382 569 91 9 156 395 44 249 379 .305 .395 .615 1.011
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 7/27/2013.

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