Alex Rodriguez hampered his longstanding image with PED usage, but his overall excellence with the New York Yankees is immensely overlooked.
When the New York Yankees acquired Alex Rodriguez from the Texas Rangers prior to the 2004 season, they acquired a superstar, a box office player, and a man with the potential to go down as one of the greater players in franchise history.
With his side storylines and allegations which applied to numerous players throughout the era, fans truly lost sight of what he accomplished. Many come up short in realizing that A-Rod has largely delivered on what he set out to do from the get-go.
Seven all-star nods, three silver sluggers, two AL MVPs, and a world championship. Most importantly, he earned that title thanks to a storybook postseason.
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If I told you that A-Rod would accumulate 351 homers, 1094 RBIs, and total seven 100 RBI seasons in a 12-year tenure in the Bronx, would you call it a success?
Of course you would.
Then if I went on to say that he was involved in steroid allegations in a time period notorious for tarnishing great players’ names, would you throw all of the achievements out the window?
When does it get to the point when fans start to truly appreciate what Alex Rodriguez has meant to the franchise over his more successful years. Think about where the Yankees, their lineup, and their postseason appearance rate would be without his presence.
Furthermore, an emphasis should be placed on where he stacks up as an all-time Yankee great. People love to place emphasis on the Mantle’s, the DiMaggio’s, and the Berra’s purely because of their greatness and untarnished legacies.
How about a guy who ranks 10th in extra-base hits, total bases, and runs scored; sixth in round-trippers and slugging percentage; seventh in OPS, and eighth in WAR. Would you not call that an all-time franchise great?
Not to mention his overall career statistics and how much he would demolish franchise marks if he had started his career in pinstripes.
We have lived through an era which has seen numerous all-time greats shoved on a downfall due to alleged PED use, including a guy who set baseball’s all-time home run mark. Now that the league is largely past it, can’t we take a moment to understand how much greater A-Rod was than everyone else who utilized that same advantage during the time period?
Currently, fans boo because there is nothing else to boo. Much of the spice brought about by the early 2000s: the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry, the hated villain that was A-Rod, the Evil Empire that was the Yankees, is now lost. Now, the layover of that time period is subject to hatred.
I, for one, view it largely incredible that a man coming off two detrimental hip surgeries, a year-long suspension without facing major league pitching, post-steroid usage, and faced with a brutal age barrier (40) was able to blast 33 homers and maintain a respectable .250 average. That is greatness at its finest if you truly admire the way the game of baseball works.
Coming to the bright lights of New York and lifting a pressured organization to its 27th title is a commendable feat.
Even more commendable? Hitting .365 with six homers, 18 RBIs, and three massive game-tying or go-ahead long balls in that postseason.
So, as his Bronx tenure comes to a rough conclusion, take a moment to realize how much he has meant to New York. Cut through all of the nonsensical factors and find his greatness. Realize that the forgettable portions of his tenure were during ages 36-38, or the years that should never be included in a long-term deal.
Come to terms with the pure impact he had throughout ages 28-34.
Although it will be tough to comprehend, the excellence is not hidden. It is right there for all of us to see, and it is something all New York fans have taken for granted.
When Alex Rodriguez departs, an all-time great, an immortal, and a once-in-a-lifetime talent will have been lost.