New York Yankees designated hitter Alex Rodriguez, widely considered one of the greatest players in the history of baseball, and frequently one of its most controversial, is retiring from the sport after 22 seasons with Major League Baseball. His final game will come August 12 when the Yankees face off against the Tampa Bay Rays, after which A-Rod will become a “special advisor and instructor” for the Bronx-based club through the end of 2017.
The announcement came today in an emotional press conference called by the Yankees organization. “We all want to keep playing forever. But it doesn’t work that way,” Rodriguez said, openly weeping. Fortunately, the 14-time All Star, who achieved over 2000 runs scored, 3000 hits, 696 home runs, a 2000+ RBI and a 297 career batting average, will be crying all the way to the bank. He has $7 million left on his contract for the rest of the current season and an additional $21 million for next year. The Yankees are legally obligated to pay him in full for the rest of his contract, adding considerably to the more than 400 million (according to sports contract research service Spotrac) he’s earned since going pro right out of high school in 1993 as the #1 overall draft pick.
Rodriguez played with the Seattle Mariners and the Texas Rangers prior to joining the Yankees in 2004.
With a record matched only by some of the greatest players of all time, Rodriguez has also been a lightning rod for controversy over his career. Among the ignoble highlights, Rodriguez angered fans and colleagues alike in 2007 when he opted out of his contract with the Yankees in what turned out to be a hardball negotiation that netted him a 10-year, $275 million contract. A-Rod was also revealed to have used performance enhancing drugs between 2000 and 2003 and was later suspended in 2014 after violating the league’s performance enhancing drugs policies after receiving human growth hormone treatments in 2013.
The broadcast home for A-Rod’s final game has not been announced. ESPN will be broadcasting the Yankees/Red Sox match up on August 10.