Alex Rodriguez has always been exceptional, from his days as a Miami high school baseball (and football) star to his selection at the top of the 1993 draft to his record-breaking home run totals and the record-shattering money that he received for those homers.
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Now, Rodriguez is once again the exception. He and other Major League Baseball players will reportedly be suspended Monday for violating the sport’s policy against performance-enhancing drugs, but A-Rod stands out from the crowd. He is the only player whose reported suspension extends beyond the end of this season, a result of his close association with the Biogenesis anti-aging clinic at the heart of the case. And he is the only one of the suspended players to contest their punishment, with 12 other players accepting 50-game suspensions, according to FoxSports.com.
Rodriguez, according to reports, is expected to be suspended for 214 games – the remainder of this season and all of next season – but he is set to appeal the suspension and will be allowed to take the field for the Yankees while that process gets played out.
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Numbers matter in baseball, more than in any other sport. Stats are used to compare players across the ages and they are seared into fans’ minds as markers of historical greatness – or, after baseball’s Steroids Era, subjects for further debate. The numbers mattered with Rodriguez, too, but often those numbers had as much to do with money as they did with performance on the field. The one-time superstar, now 38 years old and coming back from hip surgery that caused him to miss the Yankees first 100 games this season, is still owed a ridiculously huge portion of his ridiculously huge contract. These are the numbers that tell Alex Rodriguez’s story:
18: Age at which Rodriguez made his Major League Baseball debut for the Seattle Mariners on July 8, 1994
20: Age at which Rodriguez played his first full Major League season, delivering a breakout year in which he was an All-Star and led baseball with a .358 batting average
$252 million: Record value of the 10-year contract Rodriguez signed with the Texas Rangers in 2000
$275 million: Value of the 10-year contract Rodriguez signed with the Yankees before the 2008 season, excluding up to $30 million more from a marketing agreement tied to reaching career home run milestones
$353,416,252: Rodriguez’s career earnings, in salary, according to Baseball-Reference.com
$34.2 million: Estimated salary Rodriguez would lose as a result of a 214-game suspension
$95 million: Approximate value remaining on the contract through 2017
35: Rodriguez’s age on August 4, 2010, when he became the youngest player ever to hit 600 home runs. Rodriguez was also the youngest to reach the marks of 300, 400 and 500 home runs
647: Career home runs Rodriguez has hit, fifth all-time behind Barry Bonds, Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth and Willie Mays. Rodriguez stands to receive a $6 million bonus for passing Willie Mays’s career total of 660 home runs
14: All-Star game selections for Rodriguez
3: Most Valuable Player awards Rodriguez has won, in 2003, 2005 and 2007
1: World Series championships Rodriguez has won, with the 2009 Yankees