New York Yankees designated hitter Alex Rodriguez is closing in on a magnificent milestone that only three men in MLB history have achieved.When Alex Rodriguez launched a two-run homer to right-center field in the New York Yankees’ 7-6 win over the Twins on Saturday, he crept closer to an illustrious milestone that has flown under the radar thus far in 2016.
The ball soared over the wall, bringing the Yankee slugger to 695 career home runs. With that, he is five homers short of the exclusive 700-home run club that has been a talk of his entire career.
Since A-Rod’s prime, a major discussion and debate regarded whether he would become baseball’s all-time home run king. Once on pace to shatter the mark (762), injuries and sidetracks have stopped the aging star from that ultimate achievement.
However, 700 was never out of the equation. Each round number he reached brought him closer to the inevitable clip and the eventual surpassing of the iconic Babe Ruth at 714.
Currently 40 years of age, set to turn 41 in July, Rodriguez is poised to become the fourth man – Ruth, Hank Aaron, Barry Bonds – in baseball history to jack 700 baseballs out the park in a single longevous career.
With the inconsistencies of A-Rod and the Yankees as a whole thus far this season, the milestone has not been a major subject of discussion. It was known entering the campaign that he sat at 687, but it has taken some time to start sniffing the mark.
The major question moving forward will be how long it will take for him to reach 700 once and for all.
As fans well know, when Rodriguez was at 499 and 599 homers, respectively, elongated droughts ensued that resulted in a clog and distraction in the middle of the lineup.
The only hope can be that this time around with a renewed, clean, and “nothing to lose” type of A-Rod, the astounding achievement comes at a much faster rate.
“Overwhelming”, was the word Rodriguez uttered to Mike Axisa of CBS Sports back in January when asked of the general thought of passing a guy with the legacy of a Babe Ruth.
He proceeded to say that, “When you start playing baseball at 9 years old, you never think about tying anybody, let alone a guy like Babe Ruth”.
While it is an enormous achievement, the Yankees will sit tight and hope that an “overwhelming” nature does not overtake an integral piece to their lineup. Currently he is slashing a disappointing .220/.267/.413 in a season that contained promise following a 2015 uproar.
The hope involved here is that the new A-Rod, as mentioned before, takes over on the big stage. Last year, several milestones were achieved without a hitch.
He not only became the 29th man in history to collect 3,000 hits, but he became the third to reach 2,000 RBIs and the eighth to score 2,000 runs. In addition, he passed Willie Mays on the all-time home run list when he blasted a Chris Tillman offering a long way to center field at Yankee Stadium.
If that same knack for the big moment persists with A-Rod, it will not be long before his 700th home run is seen landing in some lucky fan’s hands at some major league park.
For his sake, hopefully the process of receiving that ball does not reminisce of Zack Hample from one year ago.