With the soul of David Ortiz circa 2004 apparently having been transferred to Alex Rodriguez, at least for the 2009 playoffs, here are a couple pictures from his time in the playoffs as a Seattle Mariner. This was a time when there was no sense of Rodriguez choking in the clutch: he scored a run in his first playoff game, the deciding game 5 of the 1995 ALDS, hit a homer in his first playoff start in 1997, and had averages over .300 in his first four playoff series as a starter. First, here’s A-Rod consoling Joey Cora at the end of the 1995 ALCS:
Second, celebrating with Kazuhiro Sasaki after sweeping the White Sox in the 2000 ALDS:
At the start of the 2000 ALCS vs. the Yankees, A-Rod’s solo homer helped Seattle to the win, as the Seattle Times reported:
“The magnitude of last night’s 2-0 victory over the Yankees was not only because it opened the American League Championship Series, but because the Mariners won against New York’s No. 4 starter, left-hander Denny Neagle.
Neagle survived early trouble, but eventually weakened just enough to permit a two-out run in the fifth inning on Mark McLemore’s double and Rickey Henderson’s single to right field, and a bombastic leadoff homer by Alex Rodriguez in the sixth.
Rodriguez made it 2-0 when he got the inside fastball he was looking for and drove it off a spot near the top of the left-field foul pole, about 150 feet high, 318 feet away.
“I saw the pattern that was developing; he was jamming me,” Rodriguez said. “The whole at-bat I was focused on a fastball in, and I finally got it. I thought it might go foul at first. I felt a sense of relief when it didn’t.”
And on Oct. 8, 2000, one Seattle fan liked A-Rod an awful lot, as she expressed in a letter to the Seattle Times:
“Strength of character looms large at shortstop
I was struck to read that, in the midst of the locker-room celebration after winning a playoff position, shortstop Alex Rodriguez slipped quietly away to a corner and cried.
Few in Seattle who saw the pictures in 1995 will ever forget the image of Joey Cora being consoled by Alex after losing the ALCS to Cleveland. It was both heart-wrenching and surprising that a rookie would have the compassion and strength to be there for Joey when he needed support.
As we have come to know Alex better over the past five years, it no longer is surprising to think of that moment because it is very true to his character, both as a ballplayer and as a person.
I do not know who, if anyone, was there for Alex as he undoubtedly felt both the joy of winning and the relief of not losing, but I feel certain I can speak for many in Seattle when I say that if we could have been there to hold Alex’s hand, we would have done so in a heartbeat.
Alex has demonstrated without question his ability to lead this team to greatness, even in the midst of some very hard times. But it is from those hard times that we all have come to know Alex best and have gained tremendous respect for who he is, not simply what he does on the ballfield.
It would truly be an honor to Seattle if Alex chose to stay with this team rather than move into a bigger market. I only hope that Seattle has the strength of character to give Alex the support he deserves, the support that he has given to this team and city from the very beginning.”
Donna Crist, Seattle