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Alex Rodriguez has been a Yankee longer than you think

Mar 21, 2011, 1:37 PM EDT


Some guys can play with a team for a few years and I have a hard time picturing them in any other uniform. Carlos Beltran springs to mind. He joined the Mets in 2005 and right now his time in Kansas City seems like it was decades ago. Other guys can play someplace for around the same amount of time and I still think of them as the property of another club. A-Rod is one of those guys. In my mind he still wears a Mariners or Rangers jersey.

Which is crazy, because as Joel Sherman noted yesterday, A-Rod has been a Yankee longer than you realize:

He has played more than 1,000 games with the Yankees already (1,027), ranking him 41st all-time. That might not read impressive, but he is about to get in the left lane and go zooming up that chart. If he plays just 140 games this season — his eighth with the Yankees — Rodriguez is going to pass Lou Piniella, Joe Pepitone, Tino Martinez, Hal Chase, Charlie Keller, Clete Boyer, Moose Skowron, Tony Kubek and Tom Tresh and rank 32nd all-time. If he plays another 140 games in 2012, Rodriguez would move by Dave Winfield, Red Rolfe, Roger Peckinpaugh, Horace Clarke, Paul O’Neill, Bobby Murcer, Tommy Henrich and Bob Meusel into 24th place.

Another 140 after that puts him in the top 20 and, well, you can see where this is going.

Where it’s going is that A-Rod will one day be in the inner-circle of all-time Yankees as far as games played in pinstripes (or Yankees road grays) goes. Mantle, Ruth, Gehrig, Berra territory. Or at least someplace close to it depending on how durable he is during the course of his contract.

I guess it’s not a time thing for me (yes, I acknowledge that headline doesn’t make a ton of sense). Just a time-space perception, because intellectually speaking I know that A-Rod has been with the Yankees since 2004.  I just have a hard time getting my brain around it.

  1. bloodysock - Mar 21, 2011 at 1:44 PM

    Playing in 140 more games he becomes #32, the second 140 gets him in the top 25 and after the third 140 he’s in the top 20.

    How many more games does he need to play to become a ‘true’ Yankee?

    • ThatGuy - Mar 21, 2011 at 1:45 PM

      Crap, beat me to it…

    • thinman61 - Mar 21, 2011 at 2:49 PM

      LOL, you beat me to it also.

  2. ThatGuy - Mar 21, 2011 at 1:44 PM

    But will he be a true Yankee?

  3. spudchukar - Mar 21, 2011 at 1:48 PM

    Joe Pepitone, say it ain’t so.

  4. yankeesfanlen - Mar 21, 2011 at 1:50 PM

    I can’t help it if he was stuck with those other two teams before becoming a True Yankee. We have all lived to see it now.
    I respect, admire, and appreciate a certain shortstop, but I’m Mantle-esque about ARod.
    LAA. (No, not the Angels)

    • nyyankeefanforever - Mar 21, 2011 at 6:09 PM

      Well spoken, yankeefanlen. And speaking of Mantle, guess who’s ahead of him on the Yankees’ all-time slugging pct list:

      The Babe, The Iron Man, Joltin’ Joe and Alex.

  5. yankeesgameday - Mar 21, 2011 at 1:59 PM

    Craig, I completely agree. No matter how much time passes it still feels like we’re renting the guy for a playoff run. It just doesn’t have a permanent tone to it and I can’t put my finger on why.

    • nyyankeefanforever - Mar 21, 2011 at 5:34 PM

      “Feels like we’re renting the guy for a playoff run??” I think you must be talking about Cliff Lee. More teams in one year than Alex’s whole career…..also more trips to the DL.

  6. dodger88 - Mar 21, 2011 at 2:02 PM

    Post season experience plays a big part. He never made the playoffs with the Rangers and only twice with the Mariners but with the Yanks he’s only missed the playoffs once. Regardless of whether a player is viewed as having been successful or a failure on the big stage, it does contribute to the view one forms. Thus, Yankees comes to mind first when I think of Rodriguez.

    • fatcatt - Mar 22, 2011 at 12:38 AM

      I agree. In part because how often was he on national TV with the Rangers. Or Mariners for that matter except for mostly playoff series. And also you can look at who hes played with as a Yankee that link all of them together as Yankees. So id say for me when i think Arod i think yankees. However in the present when i think yankees, i dont necessarily think Arod. Obviously we know who comes to mind there. But i think of Mariano, Posada, Torre (he hasnt been gone long eneough yet) and Cano is making his way into that picture.

  7. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Mar 21, 2011 at 2:14 PM

    The bigger questions is, was he ever a True Mariner? I mean, sure, he played on the team, but was he a real, honest to goodness True Mariner the way Jose Lopez and Richie Sexon were?

    Seriously though, when he goes to the HoF should it be as a Yankee? He will have played the most games as a Yankee, and his counting stats as a Yankee should exceed his numbers with the other teams, but (barring a late career surge ala Bonds) most of his greatest seasons will have been in other uniforms.

    • yankeesfanlen - Mar 21, 2011 at 2:26 PM

      Disagree completely. You will see why in another 4 or 5 years.
      I guess Babe Ruth should be in the HoF with a “B” on his cap.

    • Kevin S. - Mar 21, 2011 at 2:46 PM

      Depends on how you define “most.” He’s had two 9+ fWAR seasons with each team he’s played for, and while his third-highest seasons with Texas and Seattle are each higher than his third-highest Yankee season, I think that’s something that longevity overcomes.

  8. churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Mar 21, 2011 at 3:17 PM

    I just have a hard time getting my brain around it.

    some fun Arod numbers. If you split his SS/3B career into two separate players, you get:

    SS – 345
    3B – 268

    If he hits 32 HR’s this year (likely), he’ll break 300 HR as a 3b which would be good for 23rd on the Active list, and his 345 as a SS would be good for 15th. He’d be top 10 for both positions all time. Absurd (most info courtesy of

  9. throwstrikes - Mar 21, 2011 at 3:20 PM

    His arrival in NY coincided with the Yankees selling 4 million seats, he has had a season for the ages in pinstripes, has won 2 MVPs as a Yankee and was a major factor in the 2009 WS championship but you don’t see him as a Yankee?

  10. mongo2011 - Mar 21, 2011 at 4:53 PM

    Hey Craig, How is it that every day there are 2-4 articles written by you about the Yankees while the rest of the MLB teams toil on in anonymity on this site. I know as an investigative reporter, you will want to check this out to be sure, but there are rumors rampant of 29 OTHER baseball teams. Some of us could care less if A-God has been with the Yankees since he was in diapers, or even if he parted the Hudson River! There are some of us who might also be interested in the Los Angeles Dodgers, or the Kansas City Royal, or the Texas Rangers. (BTW these are reported to be some of the names of actual baseball teams that are NOT called Yankees). If you can find the time in your otherwise full day of Yankee worship, you may want to check this out.

    • Craig Calcaterra - Mar 21, 2011 at 4:59 PM

      Blogging is an inherently reactive medium. Just as an op-ed columnist opines on matters that have been reported by others, gor the most part we blog about things that are reported elsewhere.

      There are six major daily newspapers — maybe more, actually — with dedicated reporters and columnists covering the Yankees. They produce a massive amount of content. It follows quite logically, therefore, that we will have more coverage of the Yankees than we do for the Royals or Rangers who are in one-paper towns and who, as a result, have far fewer stories coming out about them every day. And many of them — because of the lack of competition among the media in those markets — tend not to be very juicy or controversial.

      If you feel there are news items about other teams that we’re overlooking, by all means, send us links. There’s a button for that very purpose in the upper right of this page. I see all of the messages that come through that link instantly. If there is an interesting story that we’re missing, believe me, we’d like to know.

    • Lukehart80 - Mar 21, 2011 at 5:08 PM

      One of the reasons I enjoy this site so much as that the team of writers includes posts on all of the teams. Sure, there are more about the Yankees than the average team, but as a team with so much success, that’s to be expected, isn’t it? I’m a huge Indians’ fan and I hate the Yankees, but I don’t expect a national blog to give them equal time. I appreciate that HBT gives any attention to the Tribe, because that’s more than can be said for a lot of national media outlets. When all I’m interested in is info about the Indians, I go to Indians’ blogs. If you’re bothered by the amount of Yankees’ coverage here, I hope you’ve never stumbled upon ESPN, you’d really hate what you found.

      • Lukehart80 - Mar 21, 2011 at 5:10 PM

        Oh, I guess I could have waited 10 minutes and let Craig defend himself.

    • yankeesfanlen - Mar 21, 2011 at 5:08 PM

      Hey Mongo this isn’t 60 minutes here. Do you want as many headlines for John McCain as for Barack Obama? I wouldn’t read 10 Frenchie posts a day.

  11. nyyankeefanforever - Mar 21, 2011 at 5:15 PM

    Aw c’mon, only DiMaggio has more RH homers in pinstripes than Alex. And as Sherman pointed out, sometime next season he’s going to have played in more games in pinstripes than in Texas and Seattle uniforms combined. I don’t get this discussion at all.

    If anyone has a hard time imagining Alex as a real Yankee, they obviously either must be a fan of another team or just haven’t been following or watching the Yankees that long.

    • Lukehart80 - Mar 21, 2011 at 5:34 PM

      I think it’s largely Yankees’ fans that have a hard time imagining A-Rod as a real Yankee. I realize that Craig was the one pointing out that he has a hard time realizing how long he’s been in New York, but I think most non-Yankee fans have no trouble fitting Rodriguez into what they picture when they imagine the Yankees.

      • nyyankeefanforever - Mar 21, 2011 at 5:43 PM

        I don’t think most “real” Yankee fans have any problem whatsoever seeing Alex as a “real” Yankee. Anybody who does probably thinks Pettitte wasn’t a “real” Yankee because he left for awhile. That’s just a personal problem and one I’ve not encountered in more than a thousand days and nights at the Stadium. This is honestly the first time I’ve ever heard this sort of junk … that is, not since the goobers and ignorant dolts who rooted against Maris in ’61.

  12. mongo2011 - Mar 21, 2011 at 5:28 PM

    While I understand what you are saying, it doesn’t make it any less frustrating. I know there are thousands of people who every time A-God has a bowel movement, want to see it replayed from seven different angles and want to interview the person who hung the toilet paper in the stall. I do not count myself as one of them.

    • nyyankeefanforever - Mar 21, 2011 at 5:58 PM

      That’s the price you pay for living during the playing days of possibly the greatest 5-tool player in history. I suspect it was likewise during Ruth’s heyday. He was probably the most photographed, quoted, written about and overexposed human being of his time too.

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