March 31st in baseball history: A-Rod emerges
Submitted by BTGrimes on Mon, 03/31/2014 - 10:00am
A coming-out party
SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - 20-year old Alex Rodriguez drove in the winning run in the 12th inning as the Seattle Mariners beat the Chicago White Sox in, at the time, the earliest opening day in major league baseball history.
The new regular shortstop was 0 for 5 when he came up in the 12th with the bases loaded. Rodriguez's single off Bill Simas gave the Mariners a 2-1 win.
The player later to become known as "A-Rod" broke in to the big leagues at 18, but 1996 was his first year as a starter and he did not disappoint. His numbers were MVP-like:
.358 Batting average
Rodriguez was second in the MVP voting that year to Juan Gonzalez. He was a sure thing Hall of Famer until admitting to using steroids.
Also in the lineup that day were two other likely Hall of Famers never linked to steroids; Randy Johnson was Seattle's starting pitcher, and Frank Thomas was the White Sox first baseman. Johnson struck out 14 in seven innings of work. Frank Thomas was 2 for 5 with a home run.
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