With the talented Mr. Rodriguez back in the news again for his off the field exploits, it seems like a good time to once again explore his worth in baseball terms. You would think this is an open and shut case since, his love for testosterone fueled women aside, the man is obviously one of the most talented baseball players of our generation. But, I’m not convinced. Yes, his regular season achievements are legendary and there’s no doubt he’ll go into the Hall of Fame once he retires.
But, my question is, how does he stack up against a real hero, a man who inspired more than one town over the course of his career, a man who could have been mistaken for Magnum P.I.? Yes, that’s right. I want to match A-Rod up with Kirk Gibson and I have a sneaking suspicion that the man who enjoys smelling Derek Jeter’s used underwear will be found wanting.
Now, over the course of the regular season there’s no denying that A-Rod is the far superior player. His gaudy 44 home runs a year average and a lifetime .306 batting average beat the heck out of Gibby’s 25 and .268. But, something funny happens once you get beyond the 162nd game of the year. Let’s face it, getting into the playoffs doesn’t mean squat if you don’t show up and A-Rod’s complete lack of World Series appearances indicate exactly what he has meant to his team come playoff time.
I’m not going to rehash all of A-Rod’s postseason shortcomings since many people with much greater baseball knowledge than myself have already done so. But, I do want to put his numbers next to Gibby’s for the sake of comparison. In 10 postseason series, Rodriguez has batted .279 which isn’t terrible. In fact, Gibson is only a couple points ahead at .282. But the number that really jumps out is how their teams fared. In the ten series in which A-Rod has played, his team has won only 3, all of them LDS’s. Gibson? Out of the five series he played in, his team won 4 and that includes two World Series. So, half the number of chances but one more victory. In fact, if you want to see how much he really meant to his team, remember that he only had ONE at bat in the ’88 World Series but we all know how that turned out.
So, here’s what I’ll say. Yes, A-Rod is the better overall player. But, if I’m a manager going into the postseason or really any important game, there’s only one of these two men that I would want on my team: The mustachioed, anti A-Rod himself.