On this Day in Yankees History: Alex Rodriguez Announces His Retirement from Baseball
by Owen Hetherington
In a crowded press conference on August 7th, 2016, Alex Rodriguez announced his retirement from the game of baseball with tears in his eyes. Having a difficult time getting the words out of his mouth, he reported that he would play his final game against the Tampa Bay Rays in the Bronx on August 12th and would become a special advisor for the Yankees for the remainder of his contract ending in 2017.
The 41-year-old finished the season batting .200 in only 65 games with the Bombers. It was clear that the gas was running low in the tank for Rodriguez and management was ready to rebuild by moving on from the 14-time All-Star.
At the press conference, Alex Rodriguez sat at the podium with his teammates as he announced his retirement after 22 seasons. He was emotional as he reflected on his career and noted how much he loved the game of baseball and his teammates. He also thanked his family, the Steinbrenners, and his coaches for the opportunity to play the game at the highest level.
Alex Rodriguez said:
“No athlete ever ends his or her career the way you want to. We all want to play forever. But it doesn’t work that way. Accepting the end gracefully is part of being a professional athlete. Saying goodbye may be the hardest part of the job, but that’s what I’m doing today.”
As I revisit the video of the press conference held four years ago, it is apparent how passionate Rodriguez was for the game of baseball. He was stumbling to get his words out of his mouth as he closed the book on his dominant career. Being a Yankee fan my entire life, Alex Rodriguez was the only third baseman I grew up watching in pinstripes. He played the game hard and left it all out on the field until his final at bat. He had a few hiccups along the way, but no human being is perfect, and Rodriguez played under an intense spotlight because of his skills and the fact that he was playing for the most historic team in all of sports.
Alex Rodriguez retired as one of the most statistically dominant players in the history of baseball, but also one of the most controversial. In 2009, Sports Illustrated reported that Rodriguez tested positive for steroid use during his 2003 season with the Rangers. He ended that season batting .298 and lead all of baseball with 47 home runs, .600 slugging, and 127 runs scored, winning Rodriguez the first MVP of his career. In addition, Rodriguez was also tied to his involvement in the Biogenesis scandal and he was suspended the entire 2014 season for use of banned substances.
What cannot be argued is that A-Rod dominated the game during his 22-year career. He was a three-time MVP (2003, 2005, and 2007) and a 14-time All-Star. At his retirement, Alex Rodriguez ranked fourth on baseball’s all-time home run list, and is second in career RBI’s. Rodriguez finished his career hitting .295 with 3,115 hits, 696 home runs, and 2,086 RBIs in 2,784 games. The numbers tell the story of his greatness.
There were many moments during Rodriguez’s career in pinstripes that helped to make his career so memorable. Over the next two weeks (beginning Monday at 1:00 p.m) I am going to share a breakdown of what I consider the top ten moments of Alex Rodriguez’s career.