In 1993, Alex Rodriguez was selected first overall in the MLB Draft, kickstarting a Hall of Fame-caliber career that spanned more than two decades and produced countless memorable moments on the big stage.
But while Rodriguez smashed 696 home runs, was a three-time MVP and 14-time All-Star, many remember him best as a drug cheat.
That reputation resurfaced last week when ESPN reported that in 2014, Rodriguez met with two assistant US Department of Justice attorneys and seven Drug Enforcement Administration agents and handed over the names of three fellow players.
Rodriguez, who was never charged for his role in the Biogenesis scandal, served his punishment as he was suspended for the entire 2014 MLB season.
But last week’s revelation that he ratted out Manny Ramirez, Ryan Braun and a third unnamed player was a reminder of Rodriguez’s transformation from a once fresh-faced Seattle Mariners prospect to a polarizing star.
Alex Rodriguez began his career with the Seattle Mariners, and was a star before long
Rodriguez later joined the Yankees and helped the franchise win a World Series in 2009
Rodriguez began his career in the Northwest as an 18-year-old with massive expectations.
By 20, he was already one of the league’s best players, batting an astonishing .358 and finishing second in MVP voting.
But it wasn’t long before the young slugger became something of a villain.
Seattle fans turned on him when he left the franchise in 2000 for a mouthwatering 10-year, $252million deal with the Texas Rangers.
‘He was well-respected and well-liked, but we felt like his true colors came out [when he left,]’ fan Pat Krick told Yahoo! Sports in 2016. ‘It was just like he became kind of a horse’s a** as far as his personality.’
Of course, that type of money always puts a target on one’s back, but Rodriguez didn’t do himself any favors either.
The third baseman was best friends with Yankees star Derek Jeter as the two came through the ranks of the baseball world, but damaged their relationship with his comments to Esquire in 2001.
Asked about Jeter’s personality, Rodriguez said, ‘He’s reserved, quiet. Jeter’s been blessed with great talent around him. He’s never had to lead.
Rodriguez and Derek Jeter, seen at the MTV’s Rock ‘n Jock Softball game, were close friends
But there was tension between the pair in New York after a controversial Rodriguez interview
‘He can just go and play and have fun. And he hits second—that’s totally different than third and fourth in a lineup. You go into New York, you wanna stop Bernie and O’Neill. You never say, Don’t let Derek beat you. He’s never your concern.’
While the two would later team up on the Yankees and win the 2009 World Series together, their friendship was damaged for a long time, with Jeter even stealing a love interest from Rodriguez in 2001, according to the New York Post.
However, the pair admitted last year on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball that they had patched things up over ‘a lot of cocktails,’ with Jeter acknowledging that their friendship was in a better place.
‘We’ve talked about it before, this isn’t the first time I’ve seen him, and you know, we got together about a month, month and a half ago, and had some conversations, and look, you move on, Jeter said.
However, Rodriguez admitted that their time together as teammates was frostier than it needed to be.
‘One of my biggest regrets, and a lot of it is because of my craziness, and all the mistakes I’ve made on and off the field, my regret is I wish we were as close as we were when we were teenagers in Seattle when we played,’ Rodriguez said.
‘I guess 2009 would still be the highlight, but that’s one of my regrets.’
But it wasn’t just Rodriguez’s frayed friendship with Jeter that put him in the headlines.
Rodriguez and ex-wife Cynthia Scurtis split in 2008 over his alleged affairs with other women
Rodriguez later dated and was engaged to Jennifer Lopez before the pair broke up in 2021
His ex-wife, Cynthia Scurtis, filed for divorce in 2008 due to the baseball star’s alleged affairs with other women.
‘The marriage of the parties is irretrievably broken because of the husband’s extramarital affairs and other marital misconduct,’ the documents said, according to the Seattle Times.
In fact, Rodriguez was rumored to have had an affair with Madonna.
Whether or not that was true, the suggestion of it was apparently too much for Scurtis to stomach.
‘The embarrassment over Madonna was the last straw,’ a source close to Scurtis told People in 2008. ‘She flew to Paris to get out of town before everything blew up between them.’
Even before Rodriguez’s steroids suspension in 2014, his status as one of the league’s highest earners and a member of the Yankees drew him intense scorn from opposing fans.
But he’s slowly repaired his image after becoming persona non grata for the rest of his playing days.
Rodriguez has appeared regularly as part of ESPN and Fox Sports’ baseball coverage since retiring, and signed a new deal with the latter this year.
He, along with businessman Marc Lore, also agreed to purchase the Minnesota Timberwolves from Glen Taylor in 2021 for $1.5billion, with the multi-year process set to conclude in 2024.
That the team’s star player Anthony Edwards didn’t even know who Rodriguez was initially shows just how much time has passed since the owner’s missteps.
Rodgers has done TV work with both ESPN and Fox Sports since hanging up his cleats in 2016
He’s even appeared on the popular entrepreneur show ‘Shark Tank,’ seen here with show member Barbara Corcoran
He’s also appeared on the popular business show ‘Shark Tank.’
But nothing seemed to mend Rodriguez’s image as much as his relationship with Jennifer Lopez from 2017 to 2021.
His previous mistakes still exist, of course, but appearances at the Met Gala and photos of their blended family introduced him to a new audience – one that likely did not care that he was once a disgraced baseball player.
Rodriguez was never punished legally for his steroid use – or for initially lying about it.
He’s certainly been charged in the court of public opinion, though, and last week was another reminder.