09/06/05 7:00 PM ET
A-Rod earns AL Player of Month honors
Third baseman hits 12 home runs on way to August award
By Jordan Bastian / MLB.com
In just his second year as the Yankees' third baseman, A-Rod has has found a way to work his name into the team's thick record book. Rodriguez's torrid pace in August earned him the American League's Player of the Month award and helped him accomplish a feat that no right-handed New York slugger had managed in 68 years.
The Major League-leading 12 home runs Rodriguez belted last month gave him 40 for the season -- making him only the second right-handed hitter in Yankees history to reach that total. Hall of Famer Joe DiMaggio hit more than 40 homers only once, when he recorded 46 in 1937.
"Any time you can be mentioned with Joe DiMaggio in any sentence, especially in this rich tradition of the Yankees, it makes you feel very humble," Rodriguez said on Aug. 31. "It's something that I'm proud of."
The nine-time All-Star hit eight home runs at Yankee Stadium in August, giving him 23 homers at home this year. That total broke the club record of 19, which was shared by DiMaggio in '37 and Gary Sheffield in 2004.
Twice last month, Rodriguez homered in three consecutive games (Aug. 7-9, 13-14). He homered in consecutive games four times.
In the ninth inning against Cleveland on Aug. 4, A-Rod homered off All-Star closer Bob Wickman to secure a 4-2 win.
"It's what I've done my whole career," Rodriguez said last month, referring to his home runs numbers on Aug. 31.
Earlier this season, Rodriguez became the youngest player in history to reach 400 home runs, doing so before his 30th birthday.
His lofty August numbers weren't limited to just the long ball, either.
In 29 games, A-Rod hit .324 with 24 RBIs, 22 runs, 77 total bases, a .429 on-base percentage and a .733 slugging percentage.
"A-Rod is pretty special," said New York manager Joe Torre said on Aug. 26.
The Yankees were 19-10 last month and currently are atop the AL Wild Card standings. They are also three games behind Boston in the East. New York has stayed in the playoff race largely in part because of A-Rod's performance this season.
His 40 home runs, 108 RBIs and .323 batting average through 136 games are an improvement from last season, when he hit .286 with 36 homers and 106 RBIs in 155 games during his first tour with the Yankees.
"Last year was the toughest year of my whole career," Rodriguez said. "I feel a lot more comfortable in New York this year."
It was the sixth Player of the Month award for Rodriguez and his second with the Yankees.Boston's David Ortiz (.284, 11 home runs, 30 RBIs) finished second for the monthly honor.
Jordan Bastian is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.