I’ve never liked Alex Rodriguez. There was always something off about him, even when he came up with Seattle as an 18-year old (I was 16 at the time). Before I knew of his cheating, I had a hint of it because back when I was training with Ozzie Canseco (in Jose’s home), Jose’s twin brother admitted to me that no one works out in this home more than Alex Rodriguez. That was way back in 1999.
It wasn’t long after Canseco’s career crashed and burned that I found out “bitch-tits”, the nickname given to Rodriguez by the ever classy Jose, was trying to sleep with Canseco’s wife. The hatred only grew as it was discovered that A-Rod was a cheater throughout most of his career. Then something funny happened. Life and baseball began beating down on Alex much in the same way it came down hard on Canseco.
Suddenly, due to injuries and suspensions, Alex Rodriguez hasn’t played in a full season since 2007, the year he won his third Most Valuable Player award. He’s no longer the baseball phenom of old but from the way everyone in the media and his own fans are beating down on him, he has somehow … by some miracle, grown into a tragic figure. Granted, a tragic figure with millions in the bank and more owed but still.
Now, at the age of 39 and with his body breaking down and rusty from not playing baseball regularly, A-Rod is just 107 home runs away from breaking Barry Bonds’ all-time home run record and a healthy half-season away from 2,000 career RBI. We can argue today about cheaters and what their stats mean or don’t but I will take Alex as the Home Run King of Baseball any day over the moody, un-friendly and fellow cheater, Bonds.
Finally, below is one of my all-time favorite baseball cards from my all-time favorite year of collecting, 1997. It comes from the great folks at Pinnacle Brands and the forgotten and very much disappointing Zenith Baseball release. This brand featured beautiful, full-bleed photos and amazing Dufex technology but not much else. The checklist was tiny and worse of all, it left out Jose Canseco.