Alexander Emmanuel Rodriguez was born July 27, 1975 in New York City, New York. His nickname is A-Rod. When he was only 18, he made his major league debut as shortstop for the Seattle Mariners in 1994, where he played until 2000. That year, he signed the richest contract in sports history at the time with the Texas Rangers. The Rangers signed him to a 10-year, $252 million deal. In 2007, the Yankees offered him a 10-year, $275 million contract, once again the richest contract in sports history.
A-Rod is known for his hitting. He is the youngest player ever to hit 500 home runs and the youngest to hit 600. He has more seasons with at least 100 RBIs than any other baseball player (14). In 2012, he tied Lou Gehrig’s grand slam record (23). He has won three MVP awards and 10 Silver Slugger awards.
At the end of the 2012 season, he had 2,901 hits; 1,898 runs, 647 HRs; and 1,950 RBIs. He is also a member of MLB’s 40–40 club. These are players who have at least collected 40 home runs (HRs) and 40 stolen bases in a single season. Only three other players have managed this feat: José Canseco, Barry Bonds and Alfonso Soriano.
His love of baseball came from his father who was a pro catcher in the Dominican Republic. A-Rod says, “I saw how passionate he was about the game, how closely he paid attention to it. That rubbed off on me.” Although he was born in New York, he grew up speaking Spanish at home and the family moved back to the Dominican Republic when he was four years old. When he was seven, the family moved to Miami where he struggled in school as he worked to learn English. He made friends through his ability to play baseball. He played both football and baseball in high school. He planned to go to the University of Miami, but the Seattle Mariners selected him number one in the MLB draft in 1993, and his baseball career began.
From 2001-2003, he admits that he used steroids; now he helps teach young people about the dangers of steroid use. He says about it, “I was young, I was stupid, I was naïve.” He has dated Madonna, Kate Hudson and Cameron Diaz. In 2003, he gave $3.9 million to the University of Miami to renovate its baseball stadium.He also supports The Boys and Girls Clubs of Miami where he played baseball when he was young. In 2005, he donated $200,000 to the Children’s Aid Society to provide therapists for schools in the Washington Heights neighborhood of New York City where he was born. He enjoys fishing and collecting art. This summarizes his philosophy of life, “Winners live in the present tense. People who come up short are consumed with future or past. I want to be living in the now.”