Alex Rodriguez is the highest-paid player in the history of baseball, a once-in-a-generation talent poised to break many of the sport's most hallowed records. In 2007 he became the youngest player, at 32, ever to hit 500 home runs, solidifying his status as the greatest player in the modern game, and months later he signed a contract that would keep him with the Yankees through the end of his career.
His reputation changed drastically in February 2009 when Selena Roberts broke the news in Sports Illustrated that A-Rod had used performance-enhancing drugs during his 2003 MVP season with the Texas Rangers. Her report prompted a contrite Rodriguez to admit illegal drug use during his 2001-2003 seasons with the Rangers, who had signed him to the most expensive contract in Major League Baseball history.
Although he admitted to three seasons of steroid use, the man teammates call "A-Fraud" was still hiding the truth. In the first definitive biography of Alex Rodriguez, Roberts assembles the strands of a bizarre and extraordinary life: from his boyhood in New York and the Dominican Republic through his near-mythic high school career and fast track to the big leagues, the whole of A-Rod's career mirrors the rise and fall of the steroid generation.
Roberts goes beyond the sensational headlines, probing A-Rod's childhood to reveal a man torn by obligation to his family and the pull of his insatiable hedonism, a conflict--epitomized by his relationship with Madonna and devotion to Kabbalah--that led to the end of his six-year marriage. Roberts sheds new light on A-Rod's abuse of performance-enhancing drugs, a practice he appears to have begun as early as high school and that extended into his Yankee years. She chronicles his secretive real estate deals, gets inside the negotiations for his latest record-breaking contract with the Yankees, and examines the insecurities that compel him to seek support from a motivational guru before every game.
In A-Rod, Roberts captures baseball's greatest player as a tragic figure in pinstripes: the man once considered the clean exception of the steroid generation revealed as an unmistakable product of its greed and dissolution.
Release Date: May 4, 2009
From Jose Canseco
"I absolutely think Alex is using HGH," (Canseco) said. "Probably a combination of growth and steroids."
"Was he on steroids in high school?" he said. "I think probably so. I worked out with him when he was 18. He could lift almost as much as I could."
On Barry Bonds
Alex loved Barry Bonds...Both were obsessed with fame. Both were enamored of their power. Both were insecure about their place in history. Both would do anything to be known as the best ever.
On Ken Griffey Jr.
"Alex said of Griffey, 'I want to be the guy who helps him win. I want to be the guy in the background. Whether fans like me and my personality, that's up to them.' This, of course, was far from the truth. The need for adoration fueled Alex's ambitions, and he thought he was destined to be baseball's best player. But he understood that fans liked humble players, so he became a student on how to play the media. He worked on perfecting his answers, as if each interview were an audition. On occasion, when his answers were ill received or sounded awkward or he appeared to have been rambling he would say, I didn't mean it that way. My English isn't very good."
On Victor Rodriguez (Alex's father)
The Emerald Park Retirement Center is about 20 miles-and at least several tax brackets-away. Victor lives in an apartment; they typically rent for about $2,200 a month, but he doesn't pay a nickel. "Alex is a very good son," he explains. "Of course, I never ask him for nothing, but he helps me. He doesn't want me to pay for where I live. But I never ask." (Victor won't live here for very long. In early 2009, he moved to another retirement enclave-with luxury upgrades.)
He hasn't spoken to Alex in several weeks. They were estranged for almost 20 years but reconciled in 2003-to a point. Part of Alex still can't fully embrace a father who left the family when he was 10. Victor reads about his son in the papers and hears about him through the entertainment news. "I worry about Alex and Cynthia," Victor says. "I hear about Madonna. I don't know. I talk to Cynthia and ask about my grandchildren, but the conversations are short."
It's before the holidays. He expects to see Alex but understands if he doesn't. He doesn't push Alex for fear of losing him again. "He's so busy," Victor says. "He has so many dealings. He is doing many big things at once."
Victor was always ambitious, too.
Victor Rodriguez was born in a verdant valley below the Cordillera Mountains of the Dominican Republic, in the village of San Juan de la Maguana. Shacks and small houses in hard-candy hues of yellow, pink and blue dotted the valley; most of them had walls made from palm trees and roofs made of dried branches and palm fronds. Victor remembers his town as an agrarian idyll-good land for rice fields and, farther into the plains, good grazing land for cattle. Donkeys pulled wagons loaded high with burlap sacks of grain, sugar and coffee beans over dirt roads toward San Juan de la Maguana. Men played dominoes in the park, while children piled up bananas to sell in the market. "No one was rich," he says. "We didn't know what rich was. Everyone was in the same situation."
In 2005, Jose Canseco blew the lid off Major League Baseball's steroid scandal -- and no one believed him. His New York Times bestselling memoir Juiced met a firestorm of criticism and outrage from the media, coaches, clubs, and players, many of whom Canseco had personally introduced to steroids -- with a needle in the ass. Baseball's former golden boy, Rookie of the Year, onetime Most Valuable Player, and owner of two World Series rings was called a liar. Now, steroids are back in the headlines... More »