Alex Rodriguez is one of the biggest MLB stars. Although supremely talented, Rodriguez earned a reputation due to his ridiculous contracts and PED scandal. However you feel about him, it’s hard to argue with his myriad accomplishments. Yet to hear A.Rod tell it, his proudest moment has little to do with his MLB career but instead with his nephew Joe Dunand.
Let’s look back at Rodriguez’s MLB career, his relationship with his nephew, as well as Dunand’s own pro baseball career.
Alex Rodriguez’s MLB career
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Rodriguez spent 22 years as a pro baseball player, splitting the time between the Seattle Mariners, Texas Rangers, and New York Yankees. In that time, Rodriguez earned 14 All-Star selections, won three American League MVPs, two Gold Glove Awards, 10 Silver Slugger Awards, and four Hank Aaron Awards. He also won one World Series with the Yankees in 2009.
Rodriguez has a career batting average of .295, details Baseball-Reference. He smacked 696 career home runs, good for No. 4 on the all-time list. He also had 2,086 RBIs, which is the third-most all-time, behind only Hank Aaron and Babe Ruth. Rodriguez’s power and versatility made him one of the most sought-after players of all time. Eventually his name became synonymous with the rapid inflation of superstar salaries.
Rodriguez’s legacy is also somewhat tarnished by his involvement in baseball’s steroid scandal. Rodriguez admitted to the use of PEDs on two occasions. That steroid usage hasn’t just hurt Rodriguez’s standing with fans. Most analysts agree that it will also likely keep him from ever making it into the Hall of Fame, although he apparently hasn’t given up hope yet.
Alex Rodriguez’s nephew, Joe Dunand
Rodriguez has always had a close relationship with Joe Dunand, the son of Rodriguez’s half-brother Joseph. From Dunand’s earliest years, he enjoyed an enviable degree of intimacy, not just with “Tio Alex,” but also with the MLB, according to the New York Daily News.
Dunand spent time with his uncle during his playing days in New York, often getting to meet and even play ball with other Yankees legends. That closeness persists to this day, with Dunand frequently posting Instagram photos and stories about his relationship with Rodriguez and his wife, music and film star Jennifer Lopez.
And then there’s also the fact that Rodriguez also helped to steer Dunand into a baseball career of his own. As Dunand put it back in 2017, reports the Miami Herald: “Being able to grow up in the [major-league] clubhouses, I tried to be a sponge, to take in as much as I can. He really benefited me in every single way.”
Dunand’s pro baseball career
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Dunand spent three years playing college baseball at North Carolina State University. In 2017, the Miami Marlins drafted Dunand in the third round, using the 51st pick of the draft to grab the talented third base prospect. Rodriguez was effusive in his love and support for Dunand, saying:
“I don’t remember being more proud in my career as I am right now, because as an uncle and as a family member, it’s really a dream come true for all of us.”
Since being drafted, Dunand spent the last three years playing for various Marlins minor-league teams. He had a solid season in 2019 with the Double-A Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp, batting .242 with five home runs, 42 RBIs, and 112 hits, according to Baseball-Reference. Like his uncle, Dunand plays third base. He and Rodriguez have startlingly similar builds, and there is even something similar about their swings.
That said, Dunand’s ceiling remains far lower than that of his world-famous uncle. But if things break his way, Dunand may end up getting a chance to put together a respectable if relatively humble MLB career.