His father was a former pro catcher in his native Dominican Republic and a passionate New York Mets fan.
By his senior year, Rodriguez had made the decision to concentrate fully on baseball, and scouts jammed the school's ball field to watch the 6-foot-3, 195-pound shortstop play.
Off the field, his personal life became the stuff of tabloids.
Following years of rumors about Rodriguez's infidelity, his wife, Cynthia, left him in 2008 after he reportedly had an affair with Madonna. It looked like Rodriguez would go down in baseball history as one of the game's most prolific offensive players.
For years he was also dogged by an inability to come up big in the postseason.
On that front, at least, Rodriguez silenced some of his critics when his bat caught fire and he slugged the Yankees to a World Series championship in 2009.
Professional baseball player Alexander Emmanuel Rodriguez was born on July 27, 1975, in New York City, the youngest of Victor Rodriguez and Lourdes Navarro's three children.