The first round of the 1993 Major League Baseball draft turned out to be a fairly fruitful crop, with the likes of Billy Wagner (12th overall pick), Derrek Lee (14th), Chris Carpenter (15th) Torii Hunter (20th) and Jason Varitek (21th) soon to enjoy All-Star careers.
But none of these young men would come anywhere near the success — and the constant controversy — of a shortstop out of Florida named Alex Rodriguez who was selected No. 1 that year by the Seattle Mariners.
On this day in béisbol, July 9, 1994, the 18-year-old everyone would come to know and love and hate as A-Rod recorded his first career hit, a single off Red Sox pitcher Sergio Valdez at Fenway Park, a day after making his big league debut. Rodriguez was the youngest player to make an MLB start in 16 years.
Twenty-two seasons later the Manhattan-born, Miami-raised son of Dominican parents would retire after having racked up 696 home runs, 3,115 hits, 2,096 RBI — and several steroid scandals.
Also on this day: In 1966, Atlanta Braves outfielder Felipe Alou takes future Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax deep — twice — in a 5-2 win over the Dodgers. It was only the third time, and the last, the Dodgers southpaw would give up two homers to a single batter in a game.
— Robert Dominguez
Robert Dominguez is co-author of “Bronx Bummers: The Unofficial History of the New York Yankees’ Bad Boys, Blunders and Brawls” and writer of the upcoming “El Salón: The Trials and Triumphs of Baseball’s Latino Hall of Famers.”
Photo: clare_and_ben – Under Creative Commons License