Alex Rodriguez Credits His ‘Courageous’ Mother for Her Negotiation Tactics With the Seattle Mariners
Three-time MVP Alex Rodriguez had some options when coming out of high school. One of the best high school athletes in the country, he had baseball teams knocking on his door. In football, he was a top-notch quarterback. Was he going to college or was he going to jump right into his career as a pro baseball player?
Rodriguez recently spoke about the days when he had to decide on his future. He said he grew up poor with his mother working multiple jobs to make ends meet. When it came down to last-minute negotiations with the Seattle Mariners, he said it was his mother who stepped up and wouldn’t take no for an answer.
Alex Rodriguez was a tremendous two-sport star in high school
Everyone knows Rodriguez as the baseball star who played for three teams in his 22 seasons of Major League Baseball. They know him as the guy caught in the middle of a steroids scandal and one who was suspended for the entire 2014 season because of it. What many might not know is that he likely could have had a pro football career instead.
At Westminster Christian School in Miami, Rodriguez was a wide receiver on the football team before taking over at quarterback in his junior year. He was the total package under center — strong armed, mobile, and cerebral.
“What I remember is, for someone who didn’t really play the sport growing up, his (immediate) knowledge and understanding just blew me away,” said former high school teammate Tris Moore, per Fox Sports. “I just remember watching film with him, and him calling out defenses, what they were trying to do. It was incredible.”
“He’s the smartest athlete I’ve ever been around,” said Rich Hofman, who was the defensive coordinator and also coached the baseball team.
Rodriguez had a plan to play both baseball and football at the University of Miami. Negotiations heated up with the Mariners jumped in, and his mother got involved.
Alex Rodriguez gave credit to his ‘courageous’ mother during negotiations
Rodriguez was a recent guest on the Trading Secrets podcast and discussed how his decision to sign with the Mariners came down. He was 17 years old and had an offer from the Mariners in excess of $1.3 million, but had to weigh the options of pro baseball or four years of college, possibly playing both sports.
“It came down to the 11th hour,” Rodriguez told podcast host Jason Tartick. “I signed that contract when I was 17 in the middle of the night in this building (his A-Rod Corp headquarters). This was called the Grand Bay Hotel.
“The Mariners had offered me a million dollars. My mom, who had two jobs at the time — secretary in the morning, serving tables at night — said absolutely not. If we don’t get 1.5 million dollars, my son is going to college to the University of Miami, where he’s going to play quarterback and shortstop.
“I was thinking, looking at my mom, like are you sure, we’re broke. This is a lot of money. She was so courageous that, at the very end, it came down to a box of bats and two first-class tickets on American Airlines.
“In the wee hours, we finally came to an agreement that it would be 1.35 (million), that it would be a three-year major league contract, and that the Mariners would buy me major league wood, my Louisville Slugger, while I was playing in the minors. The wood in the major leagues is much better than the wood in the minor leagues.
“Since I was 17 and was supposed to be a freshman going into college, I was like I’m going all the way to Seattle, my mom, could she get three first-class tickets so that she could come see me three times a year.”
Rodriguez admits he felt a little uneasy with his mother running the show
At 17, with the possibility of heading to college, Rodriguez couldn’t sign with an agent. He had to let his mother and sister head the negotiation process. That was a little unsettling to him.
“My sister was technically my agent,” he said. “If you’re an amateur and you hire an agent, you lose your eligibility. You can have what is called an advisor. My advisor at that time was Scott Boras. Scott Boras was advising my mother, my sister, and I on what to do next.
“It was a super exciting time but full of anxiety. To think about my mom making 20 grand, 25 grand a year. We’re renting an apartment. My mom is literally looking at them square in the eye and saying stick that million you know where. My son is going to get 1.5. I was like, wow, she has a lot more courage than me.
“My mother and my sister were more in charge of negotiations than I was. They were basically not even asking me for my opinion. It was crazy, my mom would get home at 11:30 at night and I would take — like I did ever since I was 11 years old — I would take her pouch and start counting her tip money. Anytime we had like 65 bucks, it was a great night, and my mom’s like, ‘it’s 1.5 or nothing.'”
Financially, things worked out just fine for Rodriguez, and he’s got one courageous mother to thank for it.