The numbers are there as is a World Series title—three Most Valuable Player awards and 14 All-Star appearances. New York Yankees third baseman and beau of WWE Diva Torrie Wilson, Alex Rodriguez, is wealthy, decorated and accomplished, but is he still a Hall of Famer?
Steroid use and an infamous propensity for coming up microscopically small in the biggest moments are becoming impenetrable roadblocks in what was once Rodriguez’s open highway to Cooperstown.
Redemption—in the form of Ichiro Suzuki—stood 90 feet away Thursday evening as Rodriguez stepped to the plate in the bottom of the eighth in Game 4 of the 2012 American League Division Series. Facing Orioles’ submariner Darren O`Day with one down, Rodriguez struck out swinging, going down on a 78 MPH slider.
Once again Rodriguez—who has been replaced by Aaron Rodgers as A-Rod—had to limp back to the dugout with his $275 million dollar tail between his pinstriped legs. New York manager Joe Girardi mercifully pinch-hit for Rodriguez in the 13th.
Rodriguez will start the deciding Game 5 on the bench. Through four games he’s produced just two hits with no RBI while striking out nine times in 16 at-bats. His biggest sin is leaving 11 men on base.
Unfortunately for Rodriguez (it would be much easier if I could just type A-Rod), the 2012 ALDS isn’t an anomaly. Coming off his 2009 World Series title he’s a measly 10-of-66 (.152) with zero home runs and just six RBI. For his career Rodriguez is a .268 postseason hitter.
In 2009 Rodriguez admitted to using performance enhancing drugs during the 2001-2003 seasons while playing for the Texas Rangers. He claimed the first of his three MVP trophies during what he claimed to be his final year of doping.
The now 37-year-old Rodriguez saw his numbers take a dramatic dip following his PED admission. Chalk it up to age or the toll of roughly 15 major league seasons—the lion’s share of which were spent at shortstop—but Rodriguez hasn’t been the same behemoth since finally spilling his guts.
Rodriguez famously lied to Katie Couric a few years prior. The diminishing returns have led many to question if the astrological numbers Rodriguez had put up were augmented by or solely the product of drugs.
Don’t be mistaken. Barring this year, the past couple of injury-plagued campaigns have produced good, borderline great numbers. But are they Hall of Fame credentials? No.
For some voters for Rodriguez, and his numbers, are simply the product of a juiced-up generation who, like other Hall of Fame players, has come up short in the postseason. For others, Rodriguez’s drug use and lack of October production leads to a moment of pause when considering his Cooperstown credentials.
Voters who have made it clear that admitted users are out, Rodriguez’s sins are unforgivable and he’ll never gain admission to the baseball heaven that is the Hall of Fame.