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Alex Rodriguez is more than "a very good player"

Feb 25, 2010, 6:35 PM EDT

Alex Rodriguez sat for a press conference today. He didn’t say anything too terribly interesting.  Winning the World Series wasn’t getting a monkey off his back, “it was a humongous gorilla that came off my back.”  He’s happy. He wants to win more. He knows he’s come a long way since last winter.  Pretty conventional stuff.

The article talking about the press conference had an interesting passage, however:

Rodriguez is about to embark upon a most critical segment of his career. These next few seasons are the ones that will define him in history — either as a very good player who did a few special things, or as one of the most sensational, remarkable talents to play the game.

“A very good player who did a few special things?” Doesn’t that undersell Rodriguez a bit? If he got hit by a bus tomorrow his career would end with him at 8th on the all-time home run list and three MVPs under his belt, with the majority of his time spent at shortstop.  To steal Bill James’ line about Rickey Henderson, if you cut him in two you’d have two Hall of Famers.

  1. Jay - Feb 25, 2010 at 6:40 PM

    I totally agree and have for years. A-Rod haters can piss up a rope.

  2. Noah Webster - Feb 25, 2010 at 6:57 PM

    That is a very good example of obsequious. But I still believe you can do better.
    Perhaps in tomorrow’s Jeter story?

  3. scatterbrian - Feb 25, 2010 at 7:37 PM

    Is being considered one of the best players in the game considered one of the “few special things?”

  4. JBerardi - Feb 25, 2010 at 7:42 PM

    .305/.390/.576 in 9611 PAs, most of that as a shortstop. The next few years don’t determine “very good” versus “great”, they determine “great” versus “greatest ever”. Great is comfortably in the bag. Not that this isn’t incredibly obvious…

  5. Stone - Feb 25, 2010 at 7:58 PM

    Rickey Henderson is God. He is one of the 3 best players in the history of the game. They pushed him out of baseball too early.

  6. Dan - Feb 25, 2010 at 8:00 PM

    Hahaha. Why does he have to get hit by a bus? Let’s just go with career ending injury.
    Agreed. He definitely was the best hitter of my time (not very long). There were a few years when I liked to think that Guerrero was the best player in the league, but no one has matched Rodriguez’s consistent production.
    Scary to think what people will be saying about Pujols when he gets to Rodriguez’s stage in five years.

  7. Jack Meoffer - Feb 25, 2010 at 8:20 PM

    I’m not a Yankee fan but I think Rodriguez is awesome. All the haters keep on saying he’s nothing when he is in the playoffs (until last year). Put it this way, if it were not for him the Yankees would of not made the playoffs most of the past few years. And the Yankees pretty much sucked when he was out for hip surgery last year. When he came back they were good again.
    AROD seems to have a good ignore button. Even when the haters are mouthing off because they have nothing else going on in their lives but sports, he is laughing all the way to the bank and has a job he loves.

  8. Geek - Feb 25, 2010 at 9:27 PM

    Rickey Henderson should have never been traded in 1998 and whoever was responsible for that should have been inducted in the Hall of Shame. One of the best or the best lead off hitters of all time, a threat to steal whenever he was on base, he was an awesome player. In a slump, the fans and the press gave up on him and the Yankees management stupidly traded him for nothing. Henderson went on to compile stats that placed him in the hall of fame. As a life long Yankee fan letting Henderson go was one of the true low points more so than the release of Roger Maris or Mosse Scorowin.

  9. Alex - Feb 25, 2010 at 10:15 PM

    So, are you saying he is the greatest juicer of all time, or just the greatest juicing shortstop. OJ, anyone.

  10. Derek - Feb 25, 2010 at 10:30 PM

    Did you know that Nomar Garciaparra is 49th on the all time list with a slugging percentage of .521. Something to think about. How would he have done if he had taken as many PEDs as Barry Bonds.

  11. RH - Feb 26, 2010 at 1:52 AM

    Does any steroid enhanced player deserve any recognition of any kind. What would he have done without the benefits of drugs. If you are going to talk about A-Rod as if he is something special, then you have to give the same kind of positive attention to all the other PED users of his era. If A-Rod was born with so much God given talent, then why did he feel the need to cheat. Why would he take the chance on permanently damaging his own health if he had confidence in his abilitys.

  12. Wouter - Feb 26, 2010 at 3:36 AM

    “The same kind of positive attention to all the other PED users of his era”? Why yes, I’ve been longing for that blog post about the legend of Jerry Hairston, Jr. and Tim Laker.

  13. billybill - Feb 26, 2010 at 4:14 AM

    To steal Eddie Stanky’s quote on Carl Yastrzemski”He’s an all-star from the neck down”.

  14. Wooden U. Lykteneau - Feb 26, 2010 at 7:12 AM

    What part of playing professionally until the age of 46 “too early?”

  15. YANKEES1996 - Feb 26, 2010 at 9:43 AM

    It was a great day when A-Rod came to the Bronx and hopefully he will play out his entire contract with the Yankees and have great success. I can still remember when A-Rod made his debut with the Mariners and before the end of that season he was being talked about with tremendous reverance. Right now A-Rod has not touched hallowed ground when it comes to records but if he was to retire this year or next I think his career is a complete success, he has nothing left to prove to anyone baseball writer, coach or fan. All I have left to say is thanks A-Rod for helping the Yanks to win and may the success continue, on to 30!!!!!!

  16. John - Feb 26, 2010 at 10:09 AM

    Did you consider how much further he might be up the list if he didn’t take PEDs? Lots of ligament and tendon injuries are common in PED users.
    Not saying, just saying. He could have gone either way….we don’t know who used and who didn’t.

  17. Ryan - Feb 26, 2010 at 10:37 AM

    *unzips pants* – ignorance is bliss when it comes to your stars, the less you hear about someone the more blissful you can be. Unfortunately, we know so much about him that a reasonable person can come to the conclusion that he is an absolutely loathsome person. Arrogant and self-centered, hes the opposite of a role-model. He may be #1 in the record books when my kids are old enough to care, but he’s never #1 in my book.

  18. Chris W - Feb 26, 2010 at 10:52 AM

    Really? NOMAR is your go-to “clean” guy? That’s…a bit surprising.

  19. YANKEES1996 - Feb 26, 2010 at 11:19 AM

    So Ryan applying your thinking Ted Williams is not the greatest hitter ever because he was rough with the fans and repoters. Lou Gehrig is not one of the greatest players of all time because he was shy and did not like talking to the press and Mike Schmidt is not one of the greatest third baseman of all time because he was at times rough with fans, right!
    A-Rod as a person has nothing to do with his talent as a baseball player and he is not employed by the Yankees to be a role model for anyone. The article which was written by Craig and commented on by you has nothing to do with A-Rod as a humanitarian it is about his skill as a baseball player which is above question. There were several years in his career when he was regarded as the best player in the game and that is truly saying something, if you don’t believe me then ask Albert Pujols as he is now regarded as the best in the game.

  20. Ryan - Feb 26, 2010 at 11:26 AM

    Not totally. You definitely have an argument there about Williams and yes, I generally agree that he and many other all-time greats had major problems. But would you seriously tell your kids to look up to A-Rod? Really – putting aside your Borg loyalism for just a minute. Call The Yankees’ marketing department if you seriously think that A-Rod is not meant to be a role model, I bet they think differently. Albert Pujols is the best player in the game with Joe Mauer clearly in the argument. A-Rod was the best player and that wasn’t good enough for him.

  21. YANKEES1996 - Feb 26, 2010 at 11:57 AM

    I believe you are being a touch hyper-critical. I don’t tell my kids anything about role models, I have done the best I can in raising them and they all appear to be on the correct path. (Thank the Lord) My kids have always been carefully directed when it comes to hero worship and I would like to believe they look up to my wife and I more than anyone else. I do not know the exact language in A-Rods’ contract but I would be willing to bet you a dog and a beer the term role model does not appear in it. He does appear at Yankee functions and fund raisers but I don’t think the Yankees are going to void his contract for lack of humanitarian effort. I think being the best in the game was good enough for A-Rod but I also believe that he had serious difficulty in dealing with the pressure that he was put under while in Texas. If A-Rod had stayed in Texas his career would be much different I guarantee it. Oh, by the way you have a great point I left Joe Maurer out of my comment about best in the game, he absolutely deserves a serious argument be made for him!

  22. Derek - Feb 26, 2010 at 12:20 PM

    Really, ligament and tendon injurys. Never heard that one. How about showing some examples of known baseball players with those kind of injurys.

  23. Derek - Feb 26, 2010 at 12:24 PM

    I was just throwing that one out there. It’s an interesting stat fact. Most known PED users are big home run hitters. I don’t know if Nomar used or not, but I don’t think anyone used more than Barry Bonds.

  24. DJ - Feb 26, 2010 at 12:30 PM

    You meant to say “Show some examples of know PED using baseball players with recurring ligament and tendon injurys.”

  25. RH - Feb 26, 2010 at 12:44 PM

    I was thinking more along the lines of comparing A-Rod to Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, Manny Ramirez, Sammy Sosa, etc. If you think a better comparison is Jerry Hairston Jr and Tim Laker, fine.

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