I’ve been a fan of Alex Rodriguez since he played Class-A ball for the Appleton Foxes. Went to Appleton to see the kid play there, it was Alex Rodriguez poster night, and even got him to sign a baseball card, which is still on my desk. That was way back in 1994, Alex was the first player chosen in the draft, and this 18 year old kid was performing well on the field. Rodriguez batted .319 in his brief 65 game stay in the Midwest League, hitting 14 home runs there, before playing 17 games in Double A, 32 games in Triple A, and before the season was through 17 games in Seattle with the Mariners. But on this night I got to see what all the fuss was about, in person. He could do it all. It was obvious Alex would be a star. This skinny 6’3″ youngster had power, speed, and could pick it at shortstop.

The awards Alex Rodriguez has won since showing up on the scene are too numerous to mention. He was named the AL MVP in 2003, 2005, & 2007. In 1996, 2002, & 2007 he was named the ML Player of the Year. The AL Hank Aaron Award was bestowed on him in 2001, 2002, 2003, & 2007. He has won nine Silver Slugger Awards (7 at SS, 2 at 3B). In 2002 & 2003 he won Gold Gloves for his play at SS. In 1996 he led the AL with a .358 batting average. He’s led the league in home runs five times, total bases four times, RBIs twice, runs scored five times, and slugging percentage three times. Eleven times Rodriguez made the AL All Star team.

His statistics speak for themselves. In 1,941 games played A-Rod has hit 526 homers, knocked in 1,552 runs, scored 1,524 times, 407 doubles, an onbase percentage of .389, 271 stolen bases, while batting .306. It’s no wonder he is the highest paid player in the history of the game, no doubt, he is the best!

It should come as no surprise that when I had the chance to get Alex to play for my Illowa APBA franchise I jumped at it. The Northside Hitmen drafted Rodriguez as a rookie, but after years of me badgering him, CLuke FINALLY relented, and traded him to me in exchange for Miguel Cabrera. In APBA A-Rod’s been a winner, playing with the Hitmen, with the likes of Barry Bonds, Manny Ramirez, & Roberto Alomar, championships didn’t elude him.

There is more to it, than this is a game played with cardboard players & dice, rather than real players made of flesh & bone. There is the matter of money. When you tie up that much money in one resource, there just isn’t enough to go around for the rest of the ballclub, even if you are George Steinbrenner, and you own the New York Yankees. Rodriguez’ teams have finished in first place five different times, but never a championship.

Will he ever win one? That is the question being asked here. I’d have to say, no. Just too much money invested in one ballplayer. But that doesn’t it mean it can’t happen or that I won’t be rooting him on. Even though I’m a White Sox fan through and through, I’ll always be a fan of Alex Rodriguez.

Oh yeah, and that poster I received in 1994, is still hanging on my bedroom wall, after all these years.

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