It was announced today that Alex Rodriguez would retire from baseball once his current contract is up. His current contract with the New York Yankees expires after the 2017 season. With A-Rod being a hot topic currently, I’m here to debate whether he should be considered as one of the greatest players in MLB history.
In his so-far 21 year career in the MLB, Alex has played for the Seattle Mariners (7 years), Texas Rangers (3 years), and the New York Yankees (11 years). In 2,719 career games played so far, A-Rod has hit 687 home runs, recorded 2,055 RBI, and has collected 3,070 hits.
In his seven years playing for the Mariners, Rodriguez recorded 189 home runs, 595 RBI, and 966 hits in 790 games. In his three years with the Rangers, he recorded 156 home runs, 395 RBI, and 569 hits in 485 games. As a member of the Yankees, he has collected 342 home runs, 1,065 RBI, and 1,535 hits in 1,444 games.
He is a 14-time AL All-Star, 3-time AL MVP, and a 2-time AL Gold Glove Winner. He has won one World Series as a member of the Yankees in 2009. He holds the records for the youngest player to hit 300, 400, 500, and 600 home runs. He has the most home runs in a single season for both the shortstop position (57 in 2002) and the third base position (52 in 2007). He holds the record for most career grand slams with 24. He tied the record for most consecutive seasons (13) with 30 or more home runs. He also holds the record for most seasons with 100 or more RBI with 14.
When talking about A-Rod and all his amazing accomplishments, I have to bring up the fact that he was caught using steroids not once, but twice. Rodriguez admitted using performance-enhancing drugs during his three seasons with the Rangers in 2009. One of those seasons was when he won his first MVP award. He goes on record saying,
“When I arrived in Texas in 2001, I felt an enormous amount of pressure. I felt like I had all the weight of the world on top of me, and I needed to perform and perform at a high level, every day.”
“I did take a banned substance, and for that I’m very sorry. I’m deeply regretful. I’m sorry for that time, I’m sorry to my fans, I’m sorry to my fans in Texas. It wasn’t until then that I ever thought about substances of any kind. Since then, I’ve proved to myself and to everyone that I don’t need any of that.”
And then again in the summer of 2013, A-Rod was caught using steroids and was given a 211 game suspension, which was later reduced to 162 games. He used those performance-enhancing drugs that were banned by the MLB from 2010-2012. Due to this scandal, Rodriguez missed the entire 2014 season.
With all the years of steroid use, you have to admit that a good amount of his career hits, home runs, RBI, and other statistics were recorded while he was under the use of performance-enhancing drugs. It would be difficult naming someone the “greatest of all time” when he is caught cheating his way through the sport of baseball for years. But then you think greats like Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, and Willie Mays never used banned substances? Steroids have been banned from the MLB since 1991, and players never got tested for banned substances until 2003. I’m not saying those guys ever took performance-enhancing drugs, but what if they did? How differently would the public eye and baseball fans look at them? Would they still be considered some of the greatest players of all time?
At the end of the day, A-Rod’s career statistics were never taken away or blackened. He is still ranked fourth all-time for career home runs, 75 away from number one. He is still ranked fourth all-time for career RBI, 242 away from number one. He is still ranked sixth all-time for career XBH, 218 away from number one.
Taking away the fact that he was caught using performance-enhancing drugs, I believe that Alex Rodriguez is one of the greatest players of all time. We do not know as fans how his PED use affected his game and how much they improved his game throughout the years. Statistics alone, Rodriquez stands as one of the best. And in his final years in the MLB, he can continue to climb the ladder as an all-time great.