Alex Rodriguez thanks his ‘brave’ mom for her negotiating tactics with the Seattle Mariners

Three-time MVP Alex Rodriguez had a few options coming out of high school. One of the best high school athletes in the country, he had baseball teams knocking on his door. In football, he was a top notch quarterback. Was he going to college or was he going straight into his career as a professional baseball player?

Rodriguez recently opened up about the days when he had to decide his future. He said he grew up in poverty with his mother working multiple times to make ends meet. When it came to last-minute negotiations with the Seattle Mariners, he said it was his mother who interfered and she would not accept a refusal.

Alex Rodriguez was a formidable star of both sports in high school

Seattle Mariners’ Alex Rodriguez throws a ball during an MLB game against the Oakland Athletics at the Oakland Coliseum in Oakland, California during the 1996 season. | Ron Vesely/MLB Photos via Getty Images.

Everyone knows Rodriguez as the baseball star who played for three teams in his 22 Major League Baseball seasons. They know him as the guy caught in the middle of a steroid scandal and the one who was suspended for the entire 2014 season because of it. What many may not know is that he probably could have had a career as a professional footballer instead.

At Westminster Christian School in Miami, Rodriguez was a catcher on the football team before taking over at quarterback in his freshman year. He was the total package under center – strong armed, mobile and cerebral.

“What I remember is that for someone who didn’t really play the sport growing up, his (immediate) knowledge and understanding just blew me away,” said the former teammate of the Tris Moore High School, according to Fox Sports. “I just remember watching a movie with him and calling him the defenses, which they were trying to do. It was amazing.”

“He’s the smartest athlete I’ve ever been around,” said Rich Hofman, who was the defensive coordinator and also coached the baseball team.

Rodriguez intended to play both baseball and football at the University of Miami. Negotiations heated up with the Mariners and his mother got involved.

Alex Rodriguez paid tribute to his “brave” mother during negotiations

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Rodriguez was a recent guest on the Trade secrets podcast and explained how his decision to sign with the Mariners was made. He was 17 and had a Mariners offer of more than $1.3 million, but had to weigh the options of professional baseball or four years of college, perhaps playing both sports.

“It was the 11th hour,” Rodriguez told podcast host Jason Tartick. “I signed this contract when I was 17 in the middle of the night in this building (his A-Rod Corp headquarters). It was called the Grand Bay Hotel.

“The Mariners offered me a million dollars. My mother, who had two jobs at the time – secretary in the morning, servant in the evening – said absolutely not. If we don’t get $1.5 million, my son will go to the University of Miami, where he will play quarterback and shortstop.

“I thought, looking at my mom, how sure are you, we’re broke. That’s a lot of money. She was so brave that in the very end it ended up with a box of bats and two first class tickets on American Airlines.

“In the early hours of the morning, we finally came to an agreement that it would be 1.35 (million), that it would be a three-year major league deal and that the Mariners would buy me some major league lumber, my Louisville Slugger, while I was playing in the minors. Wood in the major leagues is much better than wood in the minor leagues.

“Since I was 17 and was supposed to be a freshman in college, I was like I was going all the way to Seattle, my mom, could she get three first class tickets so she can come see me three times a year.”

Rodriguez admits he felt a little uncomfortable with his mother running the show

At 17, with the option of going to college, Rodriguez couldn’t sign with an agent. He had to let his mother and sister lead the negotiation process. It was a bit unsettling for him.

“My sister was technically my agent,” he said. “If you’re an amateur and you hire an agent, you lose your eligibility. You may have what is called an advisor. My adviser at the time was Scott Boras. Scott Boras was advising my mom, sister, and me on what to do next.

“It was a super exciting time but full of anxiety. Thinking about my mom making $20,000, $25,000 a year. We’re renting an apartment. My mom is literally looking them straight in the eye and telling them to stick that million, you know where. My son is going to be 1.5. I was like, wow, she has a lot more courage than me.

“My mother and my sister were more in charge of the negotiations than me. They didn’t even ask my opinion. It was crazy, my mother would come home at 11:30 p.m. and I would take – as I had done since I was 11 – I would take her wallet and start counting her tip. Whenever we had around $65, it was a great night, and my mom said, “it’s 1.5 or nothing”.

Financially, things have gone well for Rodriguez, and he has a brave mother to thank for that.

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