A-Rod 4th to homer in teens and 40s
Yankees slugger celebrates birthday with solo shot in the sixth
ARLINGTON -- Alex Rodriguez celebrated his 40th birthday by doing what he has done more often than all but three players in the game's history: hitting a home run.
Rodriguez connected with a Matt Harrison offering in the sixth inning during Monday's 6-2 win and slugged it over the wall for an opposite-field solo homer, marking the Yankees slugger's 24th of the season and his fourth in his last two games.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Rodriguez joined Ty Cobb, Rusty Staub and Gary Sheffield as the only players with home runs before their 20th birthday and on or after their 40th.
"It's amazing," Rodriguez said. "As a teenager I hit a home run and today I hit a home run -- a lot has happened, and I'm just happy to be here."
Rodriguez's first career home run was hit as a 19-year-old on June 12, 1995, off the Royals' Tom Gordon, meaning that he has punished big league pitchers in his teens, twenties, thirties and now his forties.
"It's remarkable. It doesn't happen very often," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "It's remarkable what he's been able to do. How good he was at such a young age, and how he continues to play well, at an older age."
Along with the home runs, Rodriguez is hitting .276 with 59 RBIs in 91 games. Earlier on Monday, he commented that the season has been "a nice reminder that if you play clean and you play hard, that good things can happen."
Asked after Monday's game if the general public believes that he is playing without the use of performance-enhancing drugs, Rodriguez replied, "I can't tell you what people are thinking. But I am, and I'm happy about it. I'm in a good place."
The shot off Harrison was Rodriguez's 678th career blast, as he stands fourth on the all-time list behind Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755) and Babe Ruth (714).
Six of those homers have come on his birthday, which is also a Major League record, according to Elias. Four of those birthday homers came in Arlington. The Braves' Chipper Jones was the last player to homer on his 40th birthday, doing so in 2012.
"When you play for a long time, these things just add up," Rodriguez said. "But it is nice. It is quite a great gift to have the whole family here. I'm going to celebrate a little with my teammates tonight, my daughters are here. It's a great win, and the home run is icing on top."