Yankees Editorial: More milestones coming soon for Alex Rodriguez


Alex Rodriguez is now first on the American League all-time RBI list, after passing Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig both in one swing, with a three-run home run. After passing the two New York Yankees legends to move into sole possession of third-place on the all-time MLB RBI’s list, Rodriguez is chasing yet another big milestone.

Rodriguez has been a controversial figure in his 11 years as a Yankee, but he has also provided great moments, hitting his 400, 500, 600, and 660th home run as a member of the Yankees, as well as climbing up the ranks in many categories.

While Rodriguez has surpassed two of baseball’s greatest, most beloved figures, his next RBI will tie him with Barry Bonds one of the only players in baseball history who is nearly as vilified as Rodriguez, for second-place all-time.  He also is only 19 hits away from becoming the 29th player in baseball history to reach the ever elusive 3,000 hits.

3,000 is a number that, like 500 home runs, used to guarantee Hall of Fame induction.  In fact, only three players who have reached 3,000 hits have not reached the Hall of Fame.  Two of these players, Derek Jeter and Pete Rose, are not eligble.  Jeter surely will be a first-ballot Hall of Famer in 2020, while Rose is banned due to gambling on the game.  The third, Rafael Palmeiro, is the only player with 3,000 hits, as well as the only player with 500 home runs, to be voted off the ballot, due to usage of steroids.

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While Rodriguez, like Palmeiro, may never see the day he is inducted into the Hall of Fame, with 19 more hits, he will become just the third (Hank Aaron and Willie Mays) player with 3,000 hits and 600 home runs.  His home run count is viewed as altered by PED’s, but reaching 3,000 hits is something that PED’s cannot help a player achieve.

When asked if Rodriguez’s 3,000 hit chase will become as big of a distraction as Jeter’s was in 2011, Yankees manager Joe Girardi said he hopes it will not be:

"I sure hope not.  What you hope is that he gets to 2,999 and it just happens the next at-bat and it doesn’t carry over and he’s asked about it.  I don’t care if it’s a bloop hit or an infield hit, just get it out of the way. That’s kind of your hope."

Girardi feels that, regardless of the circumstances, Rodriguez’s accomplishment is one of grand stature, and he can’t see how the Yankees slugger could avoid thinking about it:

"I don’t know how you don’t think about it.  It’s great. It’s an accomplishment when you talk about 3,000. That’s a lot of hits. You have to play a long time to get 3,000 hits and you have to be fortunate to be fairly healthy and that sort of thing."

The Yankees skipper also added that he was glad to see Rodriguez score from first in Tuesday’s game, as he feels the Yankees star is running better than he has all season:

"I think he really appreciates having the opportunity to be back out there and he’s enjoying every minute of it.  I think he was smiling coming around third because he knows the guys in the dugout are kind of laughing at him, in a sense. It makes for a good clubhouse, a good atmosphere on a daily basis."

Rodriguez has admitted to thinking about his growing list of pending milestones, but said he has other priorities that come first:

"You think about it, but right now it’s about wins.  We desperately needed these wins against a great team."

Even as Rodriguez piles up the milestones, he has remained humbled and focused on the team goal of winning a World Series.  As he attempts to rebuild his image, it is great to see Rodriguez fitting in the clubhouse and more focused on the team goals than ever, as he remains a key contributor to the first-place Yankees success.

Regardless of how much Rodriguez may down talk the milestones, they do mean something to him, and they mean something to the game of baseball as well.  No matter how fans may feel about Rodriguez, his talent is undeniable, and his ability to perform at a superstar level for nearly twenty years is something that should not be taken for granted.

While the Yankees may not celebrate Rodriguez’s 3,000th hit, it will be a historic day for the slugger, team, and sport.  At this stage of his career, it seems each of Rodriguez’s milestones become more historic as they occur.

Next: Yankees Editorials: Is Luis Severino on a fast track to the Yankees?

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