What Legacy Will Alex Rodriguez Leave?

Once upon a time, Alex Rodriguez was one of the most beloved players in baseball. As a youngster in Seattle, he was the exciting, up-and-coming superstar set to fill in for the departed shoes of his former teammate and mega superstar in his own right, Ken Griffey Jr.

That perception changed somewhat as A-Rod developed into the best player in the game and commanded an absurd contract with the Texas Rangers. Rodriguez was certainly still respected and even loved by many fans, but the then record-setting $252 million contract and rumors of some big demands put a little dent in his reputation.

However, there was no denying A-Rod’s talents. He was widely regarded as the best player in the game, the man who not only was destined to break Hank Aaron’s (and then Barry Bonds’) home run record, but shatter it. The talk centered around surpassing 800 home runs rather easily, and there was no reason to doubt that the preeminent shortstop in baseball would do just that.

Then, of course, A-Rod became a hated New York Yankee, another in a long line of stars that the Steinbrenner goliath bought, and things really took a turn for Alex. He was no longer the big man on campus, with Derek Jeter and even Mariano Rivera and others firmly entrenched as the face of the Yankees. He had to change positions, adjust to playing second fiddle and, most important of all, deal with the pressures and expectations that only New York can truly put on a player. We’ve seen men with remarkable résumés of their own wilt under the spotlight.

But if anyone could handle it, it was Rodriguez. He was a superstar who truly was great in every aspect of the game. And he continued his torrid career in pinstripes … at least for a while. That is, until October hit, and his numbers plummeted. After hitting .421 in the opening round in 2004, Rodriguez steadily saw his average decline each and every postseason. He was labeled the biggest choker on the game’s most visible team, the main reason the Yankees could not rebuild the dynasty of the early Jeter years.

However, he kept up his assault on the record books, and in 2009, A-Rod finally broke through in October. He quite literally carried the Yanks through the first few rounds as the Yankees eventually outlasted Cliff Lee and the defending champion Phillies to capture the World Series.

A-Rod was on top of the world again, the best player in the game with a big postseason and a World Series ring.

Yet things just never seemed right in New York. Even as Rodriguez was tearing through the postseason in 2009, the die-hards remained skeptical. My brother-in-law, probably the biggest Yankees fan I know, hated him even then, and it was about to get worse.

Combined with his earlier foibles, the infamous A-Rod slap, declining health and the steroid scandal, any shine Rodriguez had for his World Series contributions were overshadowed by his failures and his teammates’ triumphs.

And now, with Rodriguez scuffling and looking like a shell of his former self, he’s public enemy number one in the eyes of Yankees fans. He is no longer the man destined to carry baseball and become the home run king. He is longer universally beloved and appreciated. If anything, Alex Rodriguez has become the most criticized superstar this side of LeBron James.

It doesn’t help that his body is betraying him as his steroid use has been exposed. And his increasing age isn’t helping matters. Right now, there isn’t a man outside of Joe Girardi who even attempts to defend him.

It’s quite a fall from grace, a sad but familiar tale in sports. But when A-Rod finally hangs up the spikes and we look back, what is the legacy that he’ll leave?

Will he be the man who sits among rare company in offensive prowess, one of the game’s best hitters of all-time, a home run and RBI machine? Will he be viewed as a Gold Glover, MVP and one of the best the game has ever seen? Or will he be leaving a legacy of failure, of deceit, of cheating, of what could have been?

As A-Rod’s career spirals further and further down the rabbit hole in front of our very eyes, it really makes you wonder: What kind of legacy will Alex Rodriguez leave?

9 Replies to “What Legacy Will Alex Rodriguez Leave?”

  1. Yeah, the Seattle A-Rod seems like an entirely different ballplayer. I think the players union did him a disservice. If I remember correctly, he wanted to go to Boston and was willing to take a pay cut. The union opposed it and he ended up in New York. What a great rivalry Jeter and A-Rod would have had as the respective shortstops for the American Leagues' two premier teams. It would have been similar to what Dimaggio and Ted Williams must have been.

    I understand the union not wanting to set a precedent and take guaranteed money off the table, but their job is to act in the best interest of the players. They sold A-Rod down the river to protect themselves and other contracts.

  2. Interesting point jag. You could argue, and I will argue, that Alex Rodriguez would have been the greatest shortstop of all time had he not moved to third base. No one gives him credit for giving up his position.

  3. Let me start off with a now all to familiar in The Bronx RAAAUUUUULLLL. Now let’s get down to the real issue at hand. Yes A-Rod as a young and up and coming up star in Seattle had insane talent and was projected by many to be one of the all time greats up there with Mantle, Ruth, Williams etc. He put up some sick numbers in the regular season, and was even putting up some good stats in his early playoff years. All seemed right and he was on track to living up to all the hype and would be a guarantied first ballot Hall of Famer. Then he turns around and signs a then ridiculous other worldly contract in Texas for 252 million over 10 years. This contract was the beginning of his downfall. While his numbers were still up there. But texas did not make the playoffs in his first 3 years there. Then came trade of the decade to the Yankees which i believe he forced cause he was starting to feel the heat in texas with having to be the man and the team playing in zero playoff games in his first 3 years there. I think he figured he wouldn’t have to be the man there as much and he could hide better in a stacked Yankee lineup and this would take some pressure off him. If this was the case boy was WRONG!!!! First his ego takes a hit with having to play 3rd base instead of short stop. Then in world’s largest pressure cooker that is New York any mistake in the game and misquote and comment is magnified a million times in the press and is talked about on every sports show around here, especially in the playoffs!!!!! where a real man makes his money and steps up he was noticeably absent. This served to mentally break him, he was not the player everyone thought he was and he was not worth the insane contract he got both in Texas and in 2007 when he had to overshadow the World Series by opting out of his contract and signing this monstrosity of a contract were stuck with now. Then we come to 2009 his regular season #’s are good BA 286, HR’s 30, RBI’s 100. Then as usual we come to the playoffs and everyone figured he would tank it again. But to our surprise he hits over 400 in the first 2 rounds and has some crucial hits in the W.S. to help the Yanks back to the top. All was right in Yankee land again and it seemed that Alex would be forgiven for his past playoff transgressions. But then over the next 3 years his injuries, lack of roids, and 3 putrid playoff years, plus the fact the fact that we have to look at this mess for 5 more years have once again put him in the crosshairs of ever Yankee fan and Yankee beat writer and sportscaster this side of the Hudson river. I think his legacy will be that of a player who could have been one of the best, but his drug use, selfishness, egomaniac, lack of production in money situations (playoffs included) and overall douchbagness. will put him up there on the list with Barry Bonds as one of the most disliked people to who ever played the game. And who the Yankees can’t get rid of soon enough.

  4. @CKocur

    Wow! Feel better getting that off your chest? Many of your points are valid. A Rod's career was totally mismanaged. All players at his level are arrogant - the smart ones don't let it show too much. I feel some sympathy because part of his problem was that he became a victim of his contract.

    It wasn't his fault that Texas offered him $252 million. What was he supposed to do, turn it down? Then he was willing to take a pay cut and go to Boston but the union either didn't allow it or strongly advised him not to.

    Then the Yankees jump in and agree to take this monstrosity of a contract off the Rangers' hands. None of that is A-Rods fault. He tried to get along and move to 3rd base but he got no credit for that and could never hope to be as popular as Jeter or other Yanks who were part of the 4 Championships in 5 years run.

  5. Jag: you reply is valid as well, and it was Hank Steinbrenner who gave him this last 10 year contract that will haunt us for the next 50 years, not Cashman. He was ready to let him walk. But as far as A-Rod's Mentality and the way he acted in general he was always an oversized child who stomped and kicked and cried whenever something went against him. EX: back when Torre managed the team and he dropped A-Rod to 8th in the order in a playoff game A-Rod didn't like it and took it as a slight and not that he wasn't hitting his own weight and killing the top of the lineup all by himself, and from then on he never really liked Torre after that and he never worked with him the same again. Tonight we will see what happens if Girardi show drop him down in the order which he should do or ever bench him all together tonight. Joe should stand up to him and put him in his place and not let him cry and bitch his way out of this. He had one of his usual "me" comments in his post game interview last night when he said, "I don't know how i would have reacted to getting benched 10 years ago, but i have matured more now and took it in stride". He should have just kept his big mouth shut and said good move by Joe i wasn't producing and should not have batted in the ninth. and the fact that he got shown up by a 40 year old man who make a fraction of what he makes and has like 10 game winning hits season shows how much A-Rod is finished and that he should just retire and go away. His time is over once he got busted and they took away his roids it was all down hill from there.

  6. A-Rod's not going to retire and go away. He's going to collect those checks every 1st and 15th, you can believe that! Your beef is with Hank, not A-Rod.

    Alex would have benefitted from studying the scene in "Bull Durham" where Crash teaches Nuke the bland, humble phrases players use with the media to stay out of trouble.

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