#Yankees ‘Celebrate’ A-Rod 3000th Hit
(Photos by Gary Quintal)
A‐Rod’s 3,000th Hit Celebrated at Yankee Stadium
By Howard Goldin
Prior to the final game of the 10-day home stand of the Yankees, on September 13, a special ceremony was held to honor Alex Rodriguez for becoming the 29th member of the major leagues to join the 3,000 Hit Club.
The event being honored on Sunday took place nearly three months earlier. With two out and no men on base in the first inning on June 19, Rodriguez homered on a 95 mph fastball thrown by Justin Verlander of the Detroit Tigers to achieve his 3,000 hit in the majors. He was only the third player to hit a home run as his 3,000 major league hit. He was preceded by Derek Jeter and Wade Boggs in that accomplishment.
Rodriguez spoke about the meaning of the achievement to him immediately after the game ended, “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 [Yankee Stadium] in front of the fans. I was especially happy my two daughters were here.”
On Sunday, Rodriguez was joined on the field by his two daughters, his mother, his sister and his brother. A video was shown of him at various important moments of his career, achieving his first major league hit, his 1,000th hit, his 2,000th hit and his 3,000th. Also on the screen was his first manager in the majors, with Seattle, Lou Piniella, who offered his congratulations.
Rodriguez received two gifts from the Yankees, a Waterford crystal piece presented by the Yankees COO Lonn Trost, and a commemorative ring and a ring for each of his daughters, which were presented by the Yankees Managing Partner hall Steinbrenner.
The two-month delay in scheduling the tribute, the briefness of the ceremony, 10‐15 minutes, the absence of any former or current teammate speaking or on the field makes one wonder how anxious the Yankees brass were in paying tribute to Rodriguez.
Yet, much has changed since 2014 and early 2015 in how the public perceives Rodriguez. After not playing in 2015 and very little in 2014, A‐Rod has become the most effective batter on the team. He had two hits and a RBI in Sunday’s win over Toronto with his family in the ballpark. He has belted 31 homers this season, the most he has hit since 2008. He is consistently cheered by the fans in attendance. Perhaps a message was sent by the Yankees to Rodriguez by the presence of Trost and Steinbrenner bearing him gifts at his celebration.