New York Yankees star Alex Rodriguez has announced he will retire following the 2017 season. After turning back the clock in 2015 to the tune of 33 home runs and a .486 slugging percentage, Rodriguez, who will turn 41 in July, hopes to provide the Yankees with numbers close to his post-suspension renaissance.
Entering the last two years of his career, Rodriguez currently has 687 home runs and is on the cusp of surpassing Babe Ruth (714) for third-most in MLB history. Rodriguez’s career has been one of extreme peaks and valleys. After being drafted first overall by the Seattle Mariners in 1993, Rodriguez quickly established himself as one of the best players in baseball.
In his first full season, he finished 2nd in the American League MVP race, pacing the Mariners with 36 home runs and 123 runs batted in. Although his immense talent was evident, a power surge resulting in 52 and 57 home run seasons a few seasons later with the Texas Rangers raised a few eyebrows around the league.
After constant denial of using performance-enhancing drugs, a Sports Illustrated report in 2009 showed Rodriguez had tested positive for two anabolic steroids and testosterone during the 2003 season in which Rodriguez won his first MVP. Rodriguez then admitted to using the drugs from 2001-2003, his time in Texas, and maintained his Yankee years had been clean. In 2013, however, Rodriguez was linked to the Biogenesis scandal, resulting in Rodriguez being suspended for the entire 2014 season.
After proving everybody wrong in 2015, Rodriguez begins 2016 chasing down ‘The Great Bambino.’ While his talent, enhanced by illegal drugs or not, is unquestioned, Rodriguez faces a tough road ahead. Ruth, universally revered and seen as the face of baseball, is arguably the greatest Yankee of all-time.
For many, seeing Rodriguez pass this legendary figure will be a nightmare scenario. MVP, champion, cheater or however you choose to classify Alex Rodriguez is fine, but one thing is clear – Major League Baseball will never see another player or personality quite like A-Rod.