By Howard Goldin
BRONX, NEW YORK, JUNE 20- With two out and no men on base in the first inning on Friday, June 19, Alex Rodriguez homered on a 95 mph fastball from Justin Verlander of the Tigers to join the MLB 3,000 hit club. He wasted no time as it was the first pitch he saw. Rodriguez is the 29th MLB player to become a member of this exclusive fraternity.
Rodriguez is the first to reach 3,000 hits since Derek Jeter on July 9, 2011. He will only be the second player, along with Jeter, to reach that milestone while a member of the Yankees. He is also only the third of the 29 to homer for his 3,000th. He follows Jeter and Wade Boggs.
It appeared destined that Yankee fans in the Bronx would have the opportunity to witness the special event in person as Rodriguez began the current homestand with 2,995 hits and eight games scheduled at Yankee Stadium. He hit safely twice on Wednesday, twice on Thursday and was obviously, prepared for Friday.
He commented after the game, “It’s a magical number, 3,000. I’m glad to be in the club. [I’m] very emotional, overwhelmed. I’m so happy to do it here in front of the fans. I was especially happy my two daughters were here.”
When asked what would be most remembered by him about this day, he replied, “After the last out, Miguel Cabrera came over and gave me a hug. That’s what I’ll take away from this day 20 years from now."
As the days pass, Rodriguez moves higher and higher in the ranks of career offensive statistics. He is the second player in MLB history to drive in more than 2,000 runs. Rodriguez’s RBI total (2,004) is only below the 2,297 of Hank Aaron.
When asked which of these accomplishments meant the most to him, he answered, “RBI and runs because that’s how you win games. The most important thing is to win the game.
Rodriguez’s impressive career statistics are not only a measure of his lengthy 20+ year MLB career, but of a collection of outstanding individual seasons. The infielder compiled 13 consecutive years of blasting 30 or more home runs and driving in at least 100 runs (1998-2010). He also scored more than 100 runs in 13 straight years (1996-2008).
Those achievements were rewarded with many honors. A-Rod was selected to the American League All-Star team 14 times. He was a 10 time Silver Slugger winner and twice won a Gold Glove for fielding prowess at shortstop. Rodriguez was also the A.L. MVP in 2003, 2005 and 2007.
A question must also be raised regarding the affect upon Rodriguez’s stats by the use of PEDs. The answer to that cannot be scientifically be determined. He implied his thoughts now are not on the Hall of fame or the past as he is preparing “to finish my career so I can be proud and do it the right way.”
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