Former Mariner A-Rod On Hall of Fame Ballot

Former Mariners’ shortstop Alex Rodriguez is on the Hall of Fame ballot for 2022. The third baseman and shortstop played 22 seasons in MLB, the first seven being in Seattle. Retiring in 2016, this was his first year eligible to be on the ballot. An excellent ballplayer with a controversial career will hope to see his dreams of joining baseball’s elite at the Hall of Fame come true. That announcement will come in January.  

A-Rod as a Mariner 

It seems as though everyone knows Alex Rodriguez, but no one knows him as a Mariner. Another tale of a star player who played in Seattle before reaching their prime with another ball club. He was a standout in his draft class, being drafted first overall by the eager Seattle Mariners. He was highly scouted and was expected to be an exceptional ballplayer. His talent was off the charts, and this had not just the Mariners, but the whole league excited. At age just 18, he made his major league debut. Among fans, he affectionately became known as “A-Rod.” The nickname that stuck with him his entire career and even into retirement. 

However, A-Rod is rather forgotten in Seattle. He will mostly be remembered as a New York Yankee in pinstripes alongside Derek Jeter and Hideki Matsui. A-Rod was a four-time All-Star and batting champion in Seattle, but his potential was destined for elsewhere. The power and defense from the tall A-Rod was meant to be a cornerstone for Seattle to build on. They built a good team alright, with and without him. Their most successful season came in 2001 the year after he left to go to the Texas Rangers. For A-Rod, this is when risky choices started to plague his destiny to become one of the best players ever. Even though the Mariners gave up a sure talent, it may have worked out in their favor. Even though they did not know the decisions he was bound to make. 

Performance Enhancing Drugs Scandal 

In an era of performance-enhancing drugs (PED’s) somewhere down the line, A-Rod became one of baseball’s users. In the spring of 2003, A-Rod had his first positive test. This was not revealed until years after. Eventually, in 2004, A-Rod would sign with his hometown Yankees and become one of the highest-paid players in the history of the game. He was exceptional, but by this time it could have already been enhanced by drug use. 

The Mitchell Report released in 2007, although not naming A-Rod, was the beginning of the end for those also unknowingly used PED’s. A-Rod even went on CBS with Katie Couric and absolutely denied using any performance-enhancing drugs. Of course, this was a lie. In 2013, his baseball career was rocked. A-Rod was linked to the Biogenesis wellness clinic in Florida that was caught supplying PED’s to many players. Not only was he named, but he was the centrepiece of this scandal. Having bought substances including HGH and testosterone, he had spent thousands from this clinic, making sure his performance was in top shape. 

A hefty 211 game suspension saw Rodriguez in turmoil. Long gone from his Mariners past of excellence, he was in a new ballgame. The ballgame of gaining back trust and to show he was still the player he was thought to be, without the drugs. Although nearing the end of his career anyway, the scandal eventually ended it. It is not surprising that A-Rod is on the ballot. On the contrary, it was expected. Clean or not, those numbers belong to his name. So the famous A-Rod will get his shot at forever in Cooperstown. 

A-Rod on Hall of Fame Ballot 

A-Rod and the Hall of Fame bring back old conversations of “who deserves it, and who doesn’t based on their past.” Every baseball fan will have an opinion. The Baseball Hall of Fame, however, has a clear guideline of who they believe deserves the honor. To be eligible for the prestigious Hall of Fame “voting shall be based upon the player’s record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character, and contributions to the team(s) on which the player played.” 

Hall of Fame Character and Integrity 

Did A-Rod cross off many things on the list of consideration in Seattle, Texas, and New York? Absolutely. Did he uphold the integrity and character of the game that the Hall of Fame tries so hard to obtain? No, he did not. There is no doubting that A-Rod is one of the best baseball players ever. His membership on elite lists both offensively and defensively proves this. But it is not all about the statistics. Major League Baseball, especially over the past two decades, has struggled with issues of cheating and PED use. The game is tarnished enough without letting a player in who was a poster child for this disgrace to the game. 

Fans as well have shown that they do not agree with PED use and the players who participate, no matter how good the player is. For much of the 2015 and 2016 season after A-Rod’s return to the game following suspension, there were “A-Roid” posters in every direction in every ballpark. The once-beloved star had his fall from grace. According to many reports about the Biogenesis scandal that include player accounts, he chose to disrespect the integrity and character of the game. Unfortunately for Rodriguez, he will be better remembered for his drug use rather than his 3000 hits, .295 career batting average, three MVP awards, four Hank Aaron awards, and ten Silver Slugger awards, among many others. 

A Mariner in the Hall of Fame 

There were never accusations that A-Rod used performance-enhancing drugs in Seattle. Much of the rest career is riddled with scandal and uncertainty on when he started to play the game the wrong way. However, one can look at his statistics in Seattle and see young blossoming greatness. Even though he is rather a forgotten Mariner, his time spent in Seattle will be re-opened when voters chose whether to elect A-Rod to the Hall of Fame. The former Mariner is on the Hall of Fame ballot for 2022, and it should be intriguing to see how it all plays out. 

Main Photo:
Embed from Getty Images

Players Mentioned:

Alex Rodriguez, Derek JeterHideki Matsui, Hank Aaron