Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees just passed Hall of Famer Willie Mays for fourth place on the all-time home run list with No. 661 and now he’s marching toward another plateau in the rarefied air: 2,000 runs batted in.
The beleaguered star, who sat out the 2014 season after admitting to taking steroids, heads into the weekend against the Orioles needing 13 to join Hank Aaron (2,297 in 23 seasons), Babe Ruth (2,214 in 22 seasons) and Cap Anson (2,075 in 27 seasons).
The 39-year-old, whose net worth is $300 million, will catch Lou Gehrig at 1,995 and all-time home run leader Barry Bonds at 1,996. Behind Rodriguez in the 1,900-RBI Club are Stan Musial (1,951), Ty Cobb (1,933), Jimmie Fox (1,922), Eddie Murray (1,917), and Mays (1,903).
Here are 5 things you should know about A-Rod’s march to 2,000:
1. He Has Driven in Runs Off 687 Pitchers
The first 595 RBIs of his career came with the Seattle Mariners, and No. 1 was on July 16, 1994, with a single to left field off Jimmy Key of the Yankees. His 100th RBI was on a groundout nearly two years later, July 28, 1996, against Detroit’s Omar Olivares. Nos. 999, 1,000 and 1,001 came in 2004, as a Ranger, on a 3-run homer against Mark Mulder of the A’s.
2. He Has Punished Bartolo Colon the Most
Twenty of A-Rod’s ribbies are against Bartolo, who’s still pitching at age 41. Here are the other pitchers he has at least 10 RBIs against: David Wells (18), Sidney Ponson (18), Barry Zito (16), Ramon Ortiz (14), Roy Halladay (14), Tim Wakefield (13), Josh Beckett (12), Jamie Moyer (12), Jarrod Washburn (12), Rodrigo Lopez (12), Aaron Sele (11), Ervin Santana (11), Orlando Hernandez (11), Jeff Suppan (10), Esteban Loaiza (10), Livan Hernandez (10), Clay Buchholz (10), Gil Meche (10), Steve Sparks (10), Mike Mussina (10).
3. He Destroyed Bartolo During a 10-RBI Game
April 26, 2005: Bartolo, pitching for the Angels, serves 3 homers to A-Rod, who finished with 10 RBIs that night. A-Rod drove in 7 runs four times and had nights of 6 RBIs (nine times), 5 (14), 4 (45), 3 (133), and 2 (305).
4. He Has RBIs in 37 Parks
The 6-foot-3, 225-pounder — winner of 3 American League MVP Awards — has delivered the most damage at old Yankee Stadium — 370 RBIs — and driven in at least 100 at Rangers Ballpark (271), Seattle Kingdom (192), new Yankee Stadium (183), Safeco Field (125), and Camden Yards (103).
His breakdown with teams is: Yankees (997), Seattle (595), Texas (395). He terrorizes righties (1,518) but knocks them in evenly between home (1,019) and away (968). He loves the first inning the most (362).
5. A-Rod, Yanks Headed Toward $6M War After 660th HR
Part of A-Rod’s $252 million contract with the Yankees called for milestone bonuses, including a $6 million payout when he reached Mays at 660. But the yearlong steroids suspension threw a wrench into that equation and the Yanks have said they’re not paying the cheater a penny.
The New York Post reported that A-Rod has till May 31 to file a grievance.
As per baseball’s Basic Agreement, A-Rod has until May 31 to grieve the Yankees’ decision to not declare his 660th homer a marketable milestone and therefore not hand over $6 million to Rodriguez, as per the deal he and the Yankees cut back in December 2007. A-Rod is expected to challenge the Yankees’ ruling and set in motion an appeal hearing that most likely would take place in the coming offseason.
A-Rod, who grew up in New York City, played high school balls at Westminster Christian in Tampa, Florida, and made his big-league debut at the age of 18 on July 8, 1994 (going 0 for 3), hasn’t said much publicly about the $6 million. He just wants to play ball for the first-place Bombers. Here’s what he said after hitting No. 661 (1,987th RBI):
Nobody owes me anything. I am so grateful to be playing baseball, and I’m thankful to everyone.”
Here are A-Rod’s major RBI milestones since his debut in 1994:
* First, 7/16/94, Seattle: against Jimmy Key of the Yankees (single)
* 100, 7/28/96, Seattle: against Omar Olivares of the Tigers (groundout)
* 199-201, 8/1/97, Seattle: against Greg Hansell of the Brewers (3-run homer)
* 300, 7/10/98, Seattle: against Chuck Finley of the Angels (walk)
* 399-408, 7/10/99 thru 7/22/99, Seattle: all homers against Mike Fyhrie of the Angels (solo), Steve Sparks of the Angels (solo), Vicente Padilla of the Diamondbacks (grand slam), Tim Hudson of the A’s (2-run)
* 500-501, 5/13/2000, Seattle: against Kevin Appier of the A’s (2-run homer)
* 600-601, 4/4/2001, Texas: against Barry Zito of the A’s (2-run single)
* 700, 8/18/2001, Texas: against Roy Halladay of the Blue Jays (double)
* 800, 7/5/2002, Texas: against Willis Roberts of the Orioles (2-run homer)
* 900, 5/8/2003, Texas: against Cory Lidle of the Blue Jays (single)
* 999-1,001, 5/4/2004, Texas: against Mark Mulder of the A’s (3-run homer)
* 1,100, 4/14/2005, Yankees: against Bronson Arroyo of the Red Sox (single)
* 1,200, 8/29/2005, Yankees: against Julio Mateo of the Mariners (homer)
* 1,300, 7/28/2006, Yankees: against Tim Corcoran of the Rays (single)
* 1,400-1,403, 6/7/2007, Yankees: against Ryan Bukich of the White Sox (grand slam)
* 1,500, 9/28/2007, Yankees: against Jon Leicester of the Orioles (homer)
* 1,600-1,603, 9/14/08, Yankees: against Edwin Jackson of the Rays (grand slam)
* 1,700-1,702, 10/4/2009, Yankees: against Wade Davis of the Rays (3-run homer)
* 1,800-1,801, 8/14/10, Yankees: against Kanekoa Texiera of the Royals (2-run homer)
* 1,900, 4/23/12, Yankees: against Derek Holland of the Rangers (homer).
He’s 38 hits away from 3,000 and 65 runs away from 2,000. He also has 565 doubles and 30 triples. For those keeping score of his personal home runs, A-Rod’s latest girlfriend is fitness model Erin Simmons.