Today, many believe he's the game's premier player. A rare combination of talent and competitive drive who, like fellow icons Jordan and Woods, is known the world over by a single name: A-Rod.
Earlier this year, a blockbuster trade moved A-Rod from the Rangers to the Yankees, and from shortstop to third base. He even had to switch uniform numbers from 3 to 13, all in an effort to gain the one accolade that has eluded him, a World Series ring. "Above all personal goals," he says, "what I really want to be is a world champion."
In 11 big-league seasons, his uniform has read Seattle, Texas, and now New York, but Alex Rodriguez is most at home in Miami, where he returns every off-season. "It's been a wild ride for me and my family," he says of his cross-country odyssey. "But now we've got goals ahead of us and we're focused on that."
No matter what you've heard, don't bet against #13 this October.
American Way: You left Miami when you were a teenager, but you were back there training in the off-season. Describe your perfect day in Miami.
Alex Rodriguez: I'd work out in the morning at BOD by Dodd in Coral Gables. After that, I'd go have brunch at a place like the 1200 Restaurant & Courtyard at the Biltmore Hotel. It's a very relaxed setting and the menu there has something for just about everyone?s tastes. After brunch, I would go take a boat to Key Biscayne and just enjoy the day on the water.
American Way: You were just hours away from being a freshman at Miami when you signed your first contract with Seattle. Let's say I've only got one day and one meal left to eat in Miami before I head off to spring training, where would you take me?
Rodriguez: One place you have to go is Joe's Stone Crab, because it's kind of a landmark. It's one of the most popular restaurants in South Beach. We'd have to go there early, though; they don't take reservations.