Last night New York Yankees 3B Alex Rodriguez hit the 522nd home run of his career. The number may not seem all that significant at first glance, but let’s take a closer look.
The blast in the first inning puts Rodriguez alone in 15th place on the all-time list, and he passed Ted Williams and Willie McCovey in the process. Williams is considered by many the greatest hitter of all-time, and without World War II he may have hit close to 700 home runs. Passing Williams is a major achievement for Rodriguez, and he said he was “humbled” afterward.
Rodriguez is currently averaging 44 home runs a season, and at that rate he will be sitting over 550 at the end of the season. Leaving the slugger a little over 200 homers away from Barry Bonds. Obviously if Bonds does sign with a club at some point this season that number will change, but even at 200+ away people are already talking of Rodriguez passing the mark.
And they should be. He has shown no sign of slowing down, he hasn’t had any major injuries during his career, and he is part of one of the most powerful line-ups in baseball. Things are in an almost perfect alignment for Rodriguez to snatch the mark away from Bonds rather quickly.
If Rodriguez continues at the 44 homers a season pace he will be closing in on the all-time mark in about five seasons. Henry Aaron held the home run mark for 31 years. Bonds might be surpassed in six. When Rodriguez’s career is over he could be in Sadaharu Oh (868) territory with over 800 home runs.
Home runs aren’t the only statistic we should be looking at when we dissect Rodriguez though. If he stays right around his averages Rodriguez will have 3,000 hits in about three seasons and when he breaks the home run mark he will be a little over 140 RBIs away from the all-time mark set by Henry Aaron with 2,297. Of course he just had his best RBI total ever with 156 last season.
When his career is over, and at 32 (he turns 33 July 27th) it could be almost ten years from now, Rodriguez will go down as the best hitter ever. You may not like the guy, but he is an amazing ballplayer. He is someone you need to take your kids to see, and see for yourself. They don’t come along all that often, but Rodriguez will be talked about in the same breath as Aaron, Williams, Ty Cobb and Babe Ruth as one of the best hitters and players of all-time.
– Houston Astros SS Miguel Tejada has admitted that he is in fact 33 years old and not 31. Tejada lied about his age to increase interest from Major League scouts, and this is a common occurrence in the Dominican Republic.