Let’s enlighten “Ant,” shall we?
Rodriguez and billionaire Marc Lore are finalizing a deal to purchase the T-wolves from longtime governor Glen Taylor. Edwards said he understood Rodriguez was getting a new ownership stake but was unaware of A-Rod’s stature because he does not watch baseball.
Alex Rodriguez and billionaire Marc Lore are finalizing a deal to purchase the Minnesota Timberwolves from majority owner Glen Taylor, sources tell @wojespn.
Taylor will continue with full control of the team for two years before Rodriguez and Lore take over in 2023. pic.twitter.com/0aE4yGFKPB
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) April 10, 2021
Then again, Rodriguez has become as much of a pop-culture figure as he is a former baseball star. His relationship with Jennifer Lopez has become more prominent than his new career as a color analyst for ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball.
Nevertheless, A-Rod’s prominence mostly still stems from his baseball career, during which he went from heralded young talent to somewhat of a disgraced star. He was absolutely a lightning rod for controversy.
With all this in mind, here are three fun facts for Edwards as he brushes up on his knowledge of the Timberwolves’ new governor.
1. Youngest member of the 40-40 club
There is any number of accolades we could break down when it comes to Rodriguez’s baseball career.
A-Rod was a three-time MLB MVP and 14-time All-Star. He is one of just three players (Hank Aaron and Albert Pujols being the other two) with at least 3,000 hits and 2,000 RBI, ranking fourth all-time in the latter category. Rodriguez also ranks fourth on the all-time home run list.
But Rodriguez’s most notable baseball achievement came when he was a young shortstop with the Seattle Mariners before the notoriety and fame really began to gather steam.
Rodriguez became a teen sensation when he made his MLB debut with the M’s as an 18-year-old in 1994. He made his first All-Star team in his first full season just two years later.
However, A-Rod would really enter a new stratosphere in his age-22 season in 1998.
Only two players in MLB history had hit 40 homers and stolen 40 bases in the same season heading into the ’98 campaign. San Francisco Giants star Barry Bonds had done it in 1996, with Jose Canseco being the first to accomplish the feat as a 23-year-old in 1988.
Rodriguez made history by becoming the youngest member to join the 40-40 club in 1998. He smashed 42 homers and swiped 46 bags, also leading the American League with 213 hits.
Just one other player has joined the 40-40 club since then, with former MLB All-Star Alfonso Soriano attaining that lofty status in 2006 as a member of the Washington Nationals. Current Atlanta Braves star Ronald Acuna Jr. very nearly broke Rodriguez’s record as the youngest to get to 40-40 in his age-21 season in 2019 but finished with 41 homers and 37 stolen bases.
Rodriguez would become known more for the long ball later in his career. But he was a legitimate five-tool star when he first broke into the bigs.
2. Fall from grace
It did not take long for Rodriguez to go from teen phenom to one of the most polarizing figures in MLB history.
Rodriguez signed what was then a record 10-year, $252 million contract with the Texas Rangers in December of 2000. He captured his first AL MVP in 2003 before becoming something of a villain after being traded to the New York Yankees ahead of the 2004 season.
Largest contracts in pro team sports history:
1. Bryce Harper, Phillies, $330M
2. Giancarlo Stanton, Yanks, $325M
3. Manny Machado, Padres, $300M
4. Alex Rodriguez, Yankees, $275M
5. Alex Rodriguez, Rangers/Yankees, $252M
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) February 28, 2019
In fact, A-Rod caused some turmoil within his own clubhouse. His relationship with Yankee legend Derek Jeter was rather rocky in an infamous sense.
But Rodriguez was only building towards a precipitous fall. He previously denied using performance-enhancing drugs during a “60 Minutes” interview with Katie Couric in December of 2007. Just two years later, A-Rod admitted to taking steroids during his stint with the Texas Rangers from 2001 to 2003.
Those initial revelations were just the tip of the iceberg. Rodriguez was later implicated in the Biogenesis scandal. He was suspended 211 games in the summer of 2013, with the MLBPA later filing a grievance on his behalf and Rodriguez himself later filing a lawsuit against then-MLB Commissioner Bud Selig.
A-Rod would drop his lawsuit and lose his appeal of the suspension, though the number of games was dropped to 162. He then penned an apology claiming full responsibility for his actions.
Lots of former MLB stars have been kept out of the Baseball Hall of Fame over speculation they used steroids, including the likes of Bonds, Roger Clemens, Mark McGwire, and Sammy Sosa. But perhaps none have as identifiable a track record of PED use as A-Rod, who–judging by recent voting records–must be considered a long shot to get into the Hall.
3. Not his first foray into sports ownership
The announcement Rodriguez was part of the new T-wolves ownership group was both shocking and simultaneously not all that out of the ordinary.
On the one hand, baseball is Rodriguez’s passion as a former player and current analyst. However, A-Rod has been pretty eager to purchase a sports franchise.
Rodriguez assembled a group of investors in a bid for the New York Mets last summer. His group made it pretty far in negotiations, but probably never stood a chance against hedge fund billionaire and now current Mets owner Steve Cohen.
The 45-year-old was quite upset after the sale was finalized. A New York Post report said A-Rod was “fuming” over losing the Mets bid and felt the process was fixed in Cohen’s favor.
No matter, Rodriguez has found a new franchise, albeit in a different arena.
The sale of the Timberwolves took all sorts of weird twists and turns. Former T-wolves legend Kevin Garnett had an interest in purchasing the team, but his rocky relationship with Taylor ultimately nullified any chance of gaining an ownership stake.
Instead, Rodriguez will finally have his chance to oversee some operations for a professional sports organization.
For his part, Edwards is a key part of the organization’s future as the 2020 No. 1 overall pick. Perhaps the two will come to know each other a bit more once A-Rod gains control of the club.