Editors' Note: One-on-One with Alex Rodriguez

By Marvin R. Shanken | From Alex Rodriguez, September/October 2018
Editors' Note: One-on-One with Alex Rodriguez
Photo/David Yellen

Who is Alex Rodriguez? 

We all know he was a great baseball player, certainly one of the best of all time. Only three people have hit more home runs, he’s a 14-time All-Star and a three-time American League MVP. His records are too long to list, but one stands out, hitting 25 grand slams, more than any other man. 

As a teenager, when he was drafted No. 1 by the Seattle Mariners, he was already a superstar. Even then people cheered him. But as the years went on, and he moved from the Mariners to the Rangers and then to the Yankees, he began breaking records with his salary as well as his bat. He became a polarizing figure, and some of those cheers turned to boos. And when the question of steroids arose, he first denied ever using them, then finally admitted what he did. Ultimately he was suspended by Major League Baseball for the entire 2014 season.

But something happened after that suspension. He came back to the Yankees with a new attitude, a new energy. He made his peace with baseball and retired during the 2016 season. And while he had a great career as a baseball player, today he’s having a sensational second act. Not only is he a talented analyst, talking about the ins and outs of the game on FOX and ESPN, but he’s a sharp businessman. Early on in his career, he began investing his money in real estate, and over the years he has built an enviable portfolio of rental properties—15,000 of them. He’s shown off his business chops on the hit TV show “Shark Tank,” and he’s dating superstar Jennifer Lopez.

I met him. I interviewed him. And I got to know the real Alex Rodriguez. 

His early life was far from easy. Abandoned by his father when he was just 10, Rodriguez was raised by his mother, who was forced to work two jobs. But hardship ignited a fire in Rodriguez, who determined to use his baseball talents to build a better life for not only himself, but his mother. When he signed his first contract, he proudly told her she would never have to work again. 

One of my longtime employees is a die-hard Yankees fan. As I prepared for the interview with Rodriguez, I asked for her opinion of the man. “He owned his mistakes and thanked the fans for putting up with him,” she told me. “He embraced the kinetic energy of New York City and helped make the game exciting to watch. He brought crowds to every stadium in the country—even if it was just to boo him. The Yankees won the World Series in 2009 and A-Rod was a big part of that. That makes him a Yankee for life.”

I spent several hours with A-Rod in the Cigar Aficionado offices, smoking cigars and talking about his amazing story.

To bring this interview to life, we also shot video. Read the interview, which begins on page 56. Watch the videos, which you can find at video.cigaraficionado.com

I think you’ll enjoy getting to know the real Alex Rodriguez.