Is A-Rod Worthy of Recognition?

alex rodriguez yankees

When New York Yankees designated hitter Alex Rodriguez recently hit a home run, it became career hit number 3,000 for him. That makes him one of fewer than 30 baseball players ever to do so. He has also racked up 2,004 RBIs. As a three-time winner of the MVP award and with 14 All-Star appearances, he qualifies for the Hall of Fame, but can he be called the greatest player of all time? Where does Alex Rodriguez rank in baseball history? With the 12th highest WAR for players in his position, Rodriguez comes after Babe Ruth, Barry Bonds, Willie Mays, Ty Cobb, Tris Speaker, HHank Aaron, onus Wagner, Stan Musial, ddie Collins, Rogers Hornsby, Eand Ted Williams.

The main objection to including him in the Hall of Fame and letting the world know where Alex Rodriquez ranks in baseball history is that he used performance-enhancing drugs. Mays and Aaron did, too. So did their fellow Hall of Famers Mike Schmidt and Mickey Mantle. They used amphetamines. Some of the greatest players in recent memory have been linked to or admitted to using anabolic steroids. They include Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, and Roger Clemens. If A-Rod is to be excluded from the Hall of Fame, it would only be fair to kick the others out.

Many people feel that players involved in doping are cheaters and should not be allowed in the Hall of Fame. Others believe that players like Rodriguez who have taken steroids still deserve recognition. Their reasoning is as follows.

Between the late 1980s and the middle of the 2000s, MLB officials knew about steroid abuse, but they ignored it. They were simply making too much money every time players like Rodriguez hit a home run. McGwire and Sosa battled it out in 1998 to see who could break the record for the most home runs in a season. (McGwire eventually hit 70 home runs, setting a new record.) With record ratings for baseball that season, MLB officials made a boatload of money. A similar situation occurred in 2001, when Bonds hit 71 home runs to break McGwire’s record. Major League Baseball again raked in the dough.

The only reason MLB eventually put to stop to steroid use is that the government forced them to. According to testing for steroids in baseball started in 2003, but the league did not get serious until five years ago. Today, official policy is that steroids and PEDs are a no-no, and players who used to be highly profitable for the league are scorned.

The fact that certain individuals cheated cannot be denied. However, what they did was common practice and actively encouraged at the time. Punishing the players for their actions under those conditions seems unfair. Taking steroids does not automatically make you a superstar. It still takes talent.

Rodriguez was drafted by the Seattle Mariners out of high school in 1993. He made his debut in the major leagues one year later at the age of 18. Rodriguez had power, speed, and defensive skills that made him a key player. He became a free agent after the 2000 season and joined the Texas Rangers. He displayed a high level of ability in his three years with Texas, winning his first AL MVP Award in 2003.

Rodriguez was traded to the New York Yankees just before the 2004 season. He became a third baseman for the team. He won two more AL MVP awards during his first four seasons with New York. In 2007, he became the youngest player in history to hit 500 career home runs.

He has the fourth highest all-time number of career home runs with 667 and counting. In 2010, he became the seventh player in major league history to hit 600 career home runs. In June 2012, he helped the Yankees defeat the Atlanta Braves by hitting his 23rd grand slam, tying the record of Hall of Famer Lou Gehrig.

For part of the 2013 and the entire 2014 season, A-Rod served a suspension as punishment for his drug use. He has undergone hip surgery, returned to the field, and continued to prove his mettle. If that does not make Alex Rodriguez the top-raking player in baseball history, what would?

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