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Alex Rodriguez & Cigars

J. Bennett Alexander Alexander's picture

J. Bennett Alexander

Love him or hate him. Maybe you feel indifferent, but Alex Rodriguez, perhaps better known as A-Rod, evokes strong feelings in a lot of people, probably mostly among baseball fans. Non-fans might know him more for being Jennifer Lopez’s ex. We can’t keep up with A-Rod’s exploits that garnered so much tabloid interest, including some of his teammates calling him “A-Fraud.” He’s definitely been a polarizing personality. Maybe you can cut him a little slack.

A-Rod’s a cigar smoker. I found that out in the late 1990s when I was in Seattle, at a restaurant called “El Gaucho,” that also had a cigar lounge. Among the lockers, there was one with Rodriguez’s name on it. I asked and was told that, indeed, A-Rod smoked cigars.

Big Bucks

Maybe the beginning of the PR problems for Rodriguez began in 2000. He signed the largest contract in sports at the time, taking $25.2 million a year for 10 years from the Texas Rangers. Today, it would be worth around $43 million a year. A-Rod got that deal after hitting 41 homers, 132 RBIs, with a .316 batting average in the 2000 season. In 1999, he batted .310, hit 42 home runs and knocked in 111 runs for the Seattle Mariners. The year before, 1998, he set the record for homers (42) by a shortstop and he stole 46 bases, becoming the third member of the 40-40 club. These are just a few of the gaudy numbers.

A Great Baseball Player

Rodriguez did not disappoint. In his first year with Texas, he hit 52 home runs. The other numbers were awesome as well. He had 201 hits and was the second American League player since 1968 to lead the league in home runs, runs scored and total bases. Rodriguez has a lifetime batting average of .295, 3,115 hits, 696 homers and 2,086 runs batted in. A sure-fire hall of famer. Except for that performance-enhancing drug thing that got him suspended in August 2013 for 211 games, later reduced to 162, an entire season. He never came back to perform close to the level he played at prior to the suspension. He retired from the New York Yankees in 2016, having had a 2009 season that many argue carried the team to the World Series, which it won. He was a three-time MVP, five-time home run leader, 14 time all-star, twice a Gold Glove winner and led the league in hitting in 1996 at the age of 21.

Alex Rodriguez’s Favorite Cigar

Rodriguez, born in New York City, but of Dominican heritage, does not recall when he smoked his first cigar, but he remembers when he began loving them.

“I made a pivot from liking cigars,” he told Cigar Aficionado, “to loving cigars…while playing golf with Michael Jordan.”

Jordan, who favored Cuban Hoyo de Monterrey Double Coronas, gave one to A-Rod. It is now Rodriguez’s favorite cigar.

Alex Rodriguez’s Best Cigar

“It’s 2009, we [the New York Yankees] win the World Series and our entire team goes to a club,” A-Rod told Cigar Aficionado. “It’s downtown, right here in New York City. And we closed the place down. Then we went and had some pizza at one of these open pizza places at five or six in the morning. And right outside, we lit up some cigars. And we thought about that entire year. And for me it was a 15-year wait to be a world champion. That’s the best cigar I’ve ever had.”

A-Rod Inc.

These days, Rodriguez is a commentator on baseball games, and has appeared on the business show, Shark Tank. His estimated net worth is roughly $350 million. He is the owner and founder of A-Rod Corp., a holding company with investments in dozens of products. A-Rod once tried to buy the New York Mets. He is now a part-owner of the NBA’s Minnesota Timberwolves.

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