Is Alex Rodriguez the Greatest Player Ever?

Micheal Robinson@nyyrobinsonSenior Analyst IIJuly 24, 2008

You are responsible for a lot of things in life. As a sports fan, one of those things is remembering the greats and the great moments of your lifetime. In baseball, there is always that magical player or moment that you remember forever.

One of the best things about baseball for me is holding on to all of the great memories and carrying them with me to pass on to others. If and when the day comes, I will tell a story about the greatest baseball player I ever saw, Alex Rodriguez.

Is Alex Rodriguez the greatest of all-time?

Stats show he very well could be. But sometimes numbers aren't everything. Winning championships and the way a player carries himself can determine most sports fans' feelings towards a player and his spot in history.

I am not ready to place Alex in the greatest ever category, but as far as players that have played in my lifetime, he is hands down the best, period. While most of this can be a personal preference or opinion, I would like to share a few things with you about him that could change your mind.

The first thing you need to do is separate any of your baseball feelings with Alex on any off-field matters. Rather, it's a controversial commercial, marital affairs, or any other non-baseball related issues, it's not important.

We are all human and things happen sometimes we can't explain or prevent. What Alex Rodriguez does off the baseball field, and the way he carries himself can be looked at in a lot of ways. I choose to remain positive about him as a good person and haven't seen enough proof that he isn't. 

The media today is a lot worse than it was in the past. I would argue that if Babe Ruth or Mickey Mantle had this much media attention, they would possibly break or make a mistake that the media would pounce on. 

The main point I am trying to make is that it's all about making a story or a headline in today's media. If A-Rod donates to a charity or reads a book to a group of children, you most likely won't hear about it. 

But because of today's media, I got to give Alex the benefit of the doubt that he is a good person, but I don't know the guy, I'm just a fan. But the media doesn't give us a chance to get to know anything good about him, it's not their job to do that.

Some of the negative comments towards Alex Rodriguez are his failure to produce in the playoffs or in the clutch. Also, the fact that he hasn't won a ring...yet. Alex's postseason numbers aren't as bad as people want to make you think. With the way people talk, you would think he isn't even hitting the ball out of the infield.

Alex stays pretty quiet for the most part about the judgement, but he will speak his mind every now and then. He had this to say to Mark Feinsand of MLB.com in May of 2006,

"I could care less. In my career, I've been hearing it for a long time. It will never stop until you win five or six World Series in a row, and hit a Joe Carter home run. I've done a lot of special things in this game, and for none of that to be considered clutch, it's an injustice. I don't take anything personally; I enjoy it, it motivates me and I think it's comical. I think [for] anyone that drives in over 130 runs numerous times in his career, it's impossible not to be clutch."

In 10 postseason series and 39 games, Alex Rodriguez is a career .279 hitter in the playoffs and has hit seven home runs and has 17 runs batted in. He also has more hits than strikeouts. 

The numbers that stand out to me the most are during the 2004 postseason. The collapse of the Yankees that season in A-Rod's first year in pinstripes was out of his hands. He performed very well during that postseason. He hit three home runs and knocked in eight runners and only struck out seven times in 50 at-bats.

Last season, against the Cleveland Indians, Alex was homer-less until a solo shot in the ninth inning of Game Four in the Bronx, when the Indians already had the game put away. It was also his only RBI of the series.

But the entire team didn't hit well at all most of the series. Derek Jeter only hit .176 with an RBI for example. It was an all-around bad team effort last season, but it only made things worse for Alex's criticism as the spotlight shines on him. 

As for Derek Jeter, he however, has some postseason numbers Alex drools over.  Hitting a lifetime .377 in October and even has a November home run to go with that for extra measure. His rings and respect in New York is something Alex, lacks but that doesn't make him a bad player.

Alex Rodriguez is well on his way to being our all-time home run leader. He has crushed 539 home runs thus far, with his Black Smith Finish Louisville Slugger. The youngest ever to do so, so quickly. Do you realize that Alex is on pace to pass every leader of the four major offensive categories? He has more home runs (Barry Bonds), RBI (Hank Aaron), runs (Rickey Henderson), and hits (Pete Rose) than the all-time leaders of those stats did prior to the age of 31 years.

After the All-Star break, heading into what looks like to be another possible postseason appearence for the New York Yankees in 2008, Alex Rodriguez will continue to go out there and do his job to the best of his ability. 

I personally think that the numbers will continue to grow, and he will get that elusive championship ring, maybe even a few. Only time will tell, but I am honored to watch Alex Rodriguez play baseball and can't wait to tell stories about it years down the road.


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