A-Rod passes Willie Mays for 4th on HR list with No. 661
NEW YORK (AP) — Alex Rodriguez passed Willie Mays for fourth place on the career home run list, connecting for No. 661 on Thursday.
The New York Yankees star hit a line drive off Baltimore pitcher Chris Tillman just to the left of Yankee Stadium’s Monument Park in the third inning. ‘A-Rod’ almost reached the milestone in the first inning but was robbed by Delmon Young reaching over the top of the wall in right field to take the catch.
Next up for Rodriguez on the all-time list is Babe Ruth at 714 home runs.
“Nobody will ever pass Willie Mays,” Rodriguez said after the Yankees beat the Orioles 4-3. “I talked about him being my father’s favorite player. There’s only one Willie Mays. Not only what he did on the field but what he meant off the field. He’s a legend and he’s also a role model for all of us.”
The slugger pumped his fist as he rounded first base, and fans gave Rodriguez a standing ovation.
After returning to the dugout, he briefly emerged from the dugout to acknowledge cheers from fans, waving to the crowd with both hands above his head.
Rodriguez, who turns 40 in July, moved into a tie for fourth in the AL this season with seven home runs. He didn’t play last year while serving a drug suspension.
The Yankees and A-Rod have a marketing agreement that calls for $6 million each for up to five achievements, payable within 15 days of designation by the team. But New York has said the marketing possibilities were ruined after Rodriguez served his performance-enhancing drug penalty for his involvement in the Biogenesis scandal.
The accomplishments were contemplated to be homers 660, 714, 755 (Hank Aaron), 762 (Barry Bonds) and 763 as he moved up baseball’s list.
The refusal of payment likely would trigger a grievance on Rodriguez’s behalf by the players’ union. Without a settlement, the case would be heard by an arbitrator.
“That’s not where my mind is right now,” Rodriguez said. “I’m really just trying to enjoy this moment.”