Alex Rodriguez is one of the most controversial figures in baseball’s last twenty or so years. His career lasted from 1994-2016, and during that time he put up some of the biggest numbers for any hitter from that time frame – or any time frame, for that matter. Taking a look back at his career shows just how accomplished he was – even if his individual stats didn’t always translate to his team winning on the field.
How many teams did Alex Rodriguez play for, and did he win a World Series?
Rodriguez’s career began in Seattle, where he was called up for the first time at the young age of 18.
Alex Rodriguez made his MLB debut with the Mariners in 1994. He played 790 games over seven seasons for Seattle, hitting .309 with an on-base percentage of .374. He also hit 189 home runs and 595 RBI.
When Rodriguez first broke in with the Mariners, he was part of a dangerous lineup where he was well-protected. Their lineup featured sluggers such as Ken Griffey, Jr., Edgar Martinez, and Jay Buhner. The American League selected Rodriguez to its All-Star team four times and he finished in the top ten in MVP voting three times.
Once Alex Rodriguez hit free agency in 2000, it was clear he was going to sign a big deal. What no one could know was that his free-agent deal would be the biggest in baseball history (at the time) and would fundamentally change the way teams viewed free agency.
The next step in Alex Rodriguez’s career involved a big contract and big expectations.
Rodriguez signed a ten-year, $252 million dollar deal with the Texas Rangers. While deals with those dollar amounts are almost commonplace in baseball now, at the time it was an astronomical figure.
While the Rangers were never better than mediocre with Rodriguez in town, it certainly wasn’t the slugger’s fault. Over his three seasons in Texas, he hit 156 home runs and 395 RBI. His on-base percentage went up to .395 over this time frame. He also won the first MVP Award of his career in 2003.
Three years into the deal, and it was clear to both Rodriguez and the Rangers that the move wasn’t quite working the way everyone had hoped. In an attempt to get out of Rodriguez’s monster contract, the team reached an agreement in principle to trade him to Boston for Manny Ramirez.
However, MLB voided the deal when Rodriguez attempted to give money back off his contract to make the deal work. The MLB Players Association stepped in. The team then traded him to the New York Yankees for Alfonso Soriano.
New York Yankees
If Alex Rodriguez wanted to win in pressure-filled situations, he now had the opportunity. From 2004-2016, he played for the New York Yankees where pressure is part of the job description. Rodriguez moved from his natural position, shortstop, to third base so he could accommodate new teammate Derek Jeter.
Rodriguez would put up outstanding numbers during his time with the Yankees, hitting 351 home runs, 1,096 RBI with an on-base percentage of .378. He won two MVP Awards in New York as well. Scandals involving performance-enhancing drugs mired his time in the Big Apple, however, culminating in a season-long suspension in 2014.
He’d return to hit 33 home runs in 2015 before petering out in 2016 looking like a shell of his former self. The team and Rodriguez reached a mid-season agreement to part ways.
The crowning achievement of Alex Rodriguez’s time as a Yankee and his career overall was the team’s 2009 championship. Rodriguez was dominant that postseason, hitting 6 home runs with 18 RBI in 15 postseason games. It would finally bring an end to the discussion over whether Rodriguez was a clutch player – his New York championship proved he belonged among the discussion of baseball’s all-time greats.