Alex Rodriguez’s long, strange journey playing in the Bronx is near its end.
A-Rod is slated to play his final game for the Yankees on Friday, more than 12 years after the Bombers traded for the Rangers’ reigning AL MVP.
Few Yankees have found their way into the headlines more than Rodriguez. Sometimes, it was for his incredible ability to produce runs and launch the ball over the wall at both the old and new Yankee Stadium. Often, A-Rod’s name was taken in vain as he found himself in hot water for the things he said and did, both on and off the field. Occasionally, the news had nothing to do with baseball as his love life became regular tabloid fodder.
Regardless, there’s no denying it’s been a wild ride since the three-time MVP arrived in the Big Apple and agreed to shift to third base, allowing Derek Jeter to remain at shortstop.
What follows are the highs and lows in one of the most divisive Yankee careers ever.
The Yankees landed A-Rod to help them win championship No. 27, but his postseason performance never measured up to his star status. That changed in 2009, when Rodriguez hit .365 in the postseason with six homers and 18 RBIs in 15 games as the slugger helped the Yankees top the Phillies in the World Series. Both his home run and RBI totals that year are Yankees postseason records.
In his first five seasons wearing pinstripes, Rodriguez was a monster at the plate. During that time, he hit no less than 35 home runs or 106 RBIs in a season, topping out at 54 and 156, respectively, during the 2007 season. His brilliance was rewarded with the AL MVP Award in 2005 and 2007, the second and third of his career.
Tainted or not, A-Rod achieved several individual milestones during his Yankees tenure. He joined the 500-home run club on Aug. 4, 2007 — as the youngest to join that club — and hit No. 600 exactly three years later. His 2,000th RBI came June 13, 2015, and his 3,000th hit followed six days later.
No low was quite as low as Aug. 5, 2013, the day Rodriguez was slapped with a 211-game suspension for violating baseball’s performance-enhancing drug policy. A-Rod fought the ban that stemmed from the slugger’s link to the infamous Biogenesis scandal, ultimately serving a 162-game suspension that covered the entire 2014 season.
That may have been rock bottom, but his reputation was stained several years earlier. Before the 2009 season, Sports Illustrated reported A-Rod had tested positive for PEDs during the 2003 season, in which he won his first AL MVP.
In the midst of the epic 2004 ALCS collapse against the Red Sox, A-Rod had a hand in an embarrassing Game 6 play. Looking to beat out the tag at first, Rodriguez slapped the ball out of pitcher Bronson Arroyo’s glove. Although Jeter came around to score on the play, the run was nullified when it was ruled interference. The Yanks lost, 4-2, and were eliminated a day later.