Hank Aaron: Alex Rodriguez Needs Focus to Break HR Record
If you’re a true baseball fan, you probably recognize Hank Aaron as the all-time home run king — not Barry Bonds, who “broke” Aaron’s record on Aug. 7, 2007. The next player most likely to challenge Aaron’s 755 career home runs is Alex Rodriguez, but Aaron told the New York Post on Sunday that he thinks A-Rod needs to focus on baseball if he is going to do that.
I think Rodriguez has got too many irons on the fire right now. I think his head’s not level enough to the point where he can have the kind of year that it takes in order to go past all of the records in the book.
While A-Rod seemingly may be more interested in his celebrity status than baseball these days, he had a relatively quiet off-season, aside from the Super Bowl incident. At least we haven’t seen anything like this lately. Aaron went on to praise Derek Jeter for being focused — a feeling Hank Steinbrenner doesn’t seem to share, despite what he has said to the contrary. A-Rod is currently sixth on the all-time home run list with 613, 17 behind former Mariner teammate Ken Griffey Jr. — a number he could eclipse by the All-Star break — and 47 behind Willie Mays.
While Rodriguez has averaged more than 40 home runs a year over his first 15 full seasons, he’s averaging barely more than 30 the last three years. He’ll be 36 in July, so it seems more likely that he’ll hit closer to his more recent average than that of his prime — when he admittedly used PEDs. Using that number, 30, it will take A-Rod nearly five seasons to pass Aaron and then Bonds.
If (when) he does break the record, like Bonds it will likely be accompanied by an asterisk. If, by some strange turn of events he doesn’t break the record, it will be due to an aging body, not a lack of focus. A-Rod reportedly came into Spring Training down in weight and body fat, not exactly the sign of a player in need of more focus. No matter what happens, Aaron will remain the home run king in my eyes — and the eyes of true baseball fans everywhere.