Alex Rodriguez is a somewhat polarizing figure in Major League Baseball history. Various scandals, an admission to PED use and an underwhelming final few years in the league may ultimately cost him a spot in Cooperstown.
But one thing that cannot be denied is A-Rod's ability to accrue a fortune. He proved as much as he joined a group that attempted to purchase the New York Mets before ultimately losing to billionaire Steve Cohen.
Alex Rodriguez may not have the deep pockets of a billionaire hedge fund manager, but he has accumulated some immense wealth from his years as one of baseball's biggest stars. All indications are that he is the richest former MLB player in the United States.
So how did A-Rod come to collect so much money during his 22-year MLB career? Today we're highlight Alex Rodriguez in his rise to fame, his peak, and his net worth.
How did Alex Rodriguez get his start in baseball?
Alexander Emmanuel Rodriguez was born in Washington Heights to Dominican immigrants Victor and Lourdes Rodriguez in 1975. He spent his early life living in the Dominican Republic before moving to Miami, where he would rapidly rise through the ranks of amateur sports.
Rodriguez played shortstop in baseball and quarterback in football for high school, but had far more success in baseball. As a junior, he won a national championship at Westminster Christian School. The following year, he was the top prospect in the country. He even became the first high school athlete to get a tryout with the US men's national baseball team.
A-Rod's high school dominance earned him a scholarship offer to the University of Miami (FL), where he signed a letter of intent. He was even offered a chance to play QB.
But when the Seattle Mariners drafted him No. 1 overall in the 1993 MLB Draft, A-Rod went pro instead.
How long did it take for Rodriguez to climb the MLB mountain?
After he signed a three-year, $1.3 million contract with the Mariners, Rodriguez quickly climbed the minor league ranks and played his way onto Seattle's starting lineup. He played 65 games from 1994 to 1995, notching 44 hits with a .224 batting average in his teenage years.
Everything changed in 1996, when he became the full-time starting shortstop. At the age of 20, Rodriguez led the American League with 141 runs, and led the MLB with 54 doubles and a .358 batting average. He earned his first of three straight All-Star appearances that year and finished second in the MVP voting.
By the end of the 2000 season, Rodriguez was a four-time All-Star, a four-time Silver Slugger, a perennial MVP finalist, and had set all kinds of records and milestones for his dominance at the plate.
When did A-Rod start making the big bucks?
A-Rod became a free agent after the 2000 season, and cashed in on his dominance to the tune of a then-record 10-year deal worth $252 million ($374 million by today's standard) - the largest contract in sports history at the time - with the Texas Rangers.
He was in his mid-20s when he signed with the Rangers, and he quickly gave them their money's worth. In his three seasons with the Texans Rangers, A-Rod led the American League in home runs each year. He led all of baseball in home runs in 2002 and 2003, hitting 57 and 47 respectively. In 2003, he was named the AL MVP.
But even as A-Rod thrived in Texas, the team itself struggled. In three seasons with the Rangers, the team never had a winning season, let alone made the playoffs.
By the end of A-Rod's MVP campaign, the Rangers were ready to part ways with him. After the MLBPA rejected a trade that would have sent him to the Boston Red Sox, George Steinbrenner and the New York Yankees made the Rangers an offer they couldn't refuse.
Why was A-Rod's tenure with the Yankees so rocky?
The Yankees spent a ton of money to bring A-Rod into the fold, and in the regular season - even after switching from shortstop to third base - he continued to dominate.
In his first five seasons in New York, A-Rod was a perennial All-Star, won two more MVP awards, and helped league the Yankees to three AL East crowns. But postseason success eluded A-Rod and the Yankees - most heartbreakingly in 2004 when they infamously blew their 3-0 lead to the arch-rival Red Sox in the ALCS.
After that 2004 postseason, the Yankees would struggle mightily in the postseason for the next few years. Between 2005 and 2007 they were bounced in the ALDS each year. That didn't stop the Yankees from re-signing A-Rod to a 10-year, $275 million contract after the 2007 season though.
But in 2008, they missed the postseason altogether for the first time since 1994.
It's ironic that it was 2009 - A-Rod's first non-All-Star campaign with the Yankees - where he finally showed up big in the postseason. In the 2009 postseason, A-Rod played some of the best baseball of his career, notching 19 hits, 15 runs, six home runs and 18 RBIs in 15 games en route to a World Series title over the Philadelphia Phillies.
Unfortunately for A-Rod and the Yankees, that was the high point of their relationship. A-Rod would make the All-Star game in 2010 and 2011, but they never reached the World Series together again.
What is the net worth of Alex Rodriguez today?
A-Rod earned an estimated $475 million during his MLB career. From 2001 to 2014, he never made less than $22 million a year. But his net worth is slightly lower than that. Celebrity Net Worth puts Alex Rodriguez's current net worth at $350 million.
Where did nearly a quarter of his MLB earnings go? Into a ton of real estate and the A-Rod Corp holding company.
A-Rod has bought and sold a ton of properties, but recently purchased a massive $32.5 million mansion on Miami's Star Island.
How does A-Rod stack up to other current and former baseball players?
According to a Radio.com ranking from 2020, A-Rod's $350 million net worth makes him the wealthiest baseball player by a wide margin.
In second place is former teammate and Miami Marlins owner Derek Jeter at $185 million. Alex Rodriguez may not have beaten out Jeter in the hearts of baseball fans or in the race for MLB ownership, but he's got him beat at the bank.
Taking third is international baseball star Ichiro Suzuki at $180 million. Suzuki made a small fortune in MLB, but is an even bigger star in his native Japan, where his wealth has only multiplied.
As a result, A-Rod has almost as much as both of them combined.
How did Alex Rodriguez get together with Jennifer Lopez?
A-Rod's first wife was Cynthia Scurtis, who he married in 2002. They had two kids together. But the couple divorced in 2008 with Cynthia citing "emotional abandonment."
The baseball superstar then dated a number of women over the next few years. Some of his confirmed dates include Kate Hudson, Cameron Diaz and Torrie Wilson.
But in 2017, People confirmed that A-Rod and singer-performer Jennifer Lopez were dating. The two quickly became one of America's most prominent power couples, and in 2019 confirmed their engagement.
Few people have earned as much glowing respect from A-Rod as J-Lo has. He described her as "a powerhouse" and "an octopus threat" with tremendous work ethic, vision and principles.
Though they haven't tied the knot yet, it's pretty clear that A-Rod's admiration for J-Lo goes far beyond physical attraction.