08/04/10 2:31 PM ET
Hall of Famers weigh in on A-Rod
By Barry M. Bloom / MLB.com
Beating out The Babe
|1.||Rodriguez||NYY||35 years, 8 days|
|2.||Ruth||NYY||36 years, 196 days|
|3.||Aaron||Atl.||37 years, 81 days|
|4.||Bonds||S.F.||38 years, 16 days|
|5.||Mays||S.F.||38 years, 139 days|
|6.||Griffey||Cin.||38 years, 201 days|
|7.||Sosa||Tex.||38 years, 220 days|
Rodriguez is the youngest player to reach the 600 plateau, and he did it on the three-year anniversary of his 500th blast. Bonds tied Aaron with his 755th homer in San Diego on Aug. 4, 2007."Well, he's still young enough," Dawson said about A-Rod's chances. "Of course, injuries play a part in it. Obviously, he'll slow down, but I don't think he's going to slow down drastically. He should still hit 30-some homers a year and play well into his 40s." Reggie Jackson, a special advisor with the Yankees and owner of 563 career homers, echoed Dawson's sentiment. "I'm very happy for him," Jackson said. "He's my friend, and I know the work it took for him to do it." Tony Gwynn was still in the middle of winning his eight National League batting titles for the Padres when Rodriguez came up, pretty much for good, as a 20-year-old with the Mariners in 1995. Gwynn always liked A-Rod's work ethic and approach at the plate. "I'm a baseball fan. I love to see guys do things that haven't been done," Gwynn said. "The 600-homer club is a very exclusive club. I was watching TV and saw him hit 599. I love to see these guys get to these milestones that have rarely been reached. In his case, further on down the line, he's going to have some stuff he's going to have to deal with because of his admission. But I'm still a fan. I love to watch him swing the bat." As for Rodriguez passing Bonds, "He's got a chance," Gwynn said. "Whether he does it or not remains to be seen. But if anybody has a shot at it, it would be him."
Seventh to 600
A-Rod's "admission" that he had taken performance-enhancing drugs from 2001-03 when he was with the Rangers came in 2009. He apologized at the time, saying, "I did take a banned substance. And for that I am very sorry and deeply regretful."
Several Hall of Famers consider this an issue in A-Rod's run at 600 and beyond."Basically, there will always be questions, always be doubts, whether the home runs were legitimate," Ozzie Smith said. "That's it in a nutshell. He came up in an era when everyone used. So it's very questionable." "That's a lot of home runs," Ryne Sandberg said. "It's really something for anybody who does that. It's a small group. And he joins that group. But that's all I've got to say about it." "I think it's great, but obviously, he'll always have hanging over his head the allegations about the drugs he took," Gary Carter said. "In any event, he's one of those kids who had the tag of 'superstar' on him when he was drafted, and he became a superstar. So he'll always be recognized as a great player. But 600, that's an incredible milestone. Not too many players have gotten there. And if he stays healthy, there's a chance he might one day be the all-time home run guy. We'll see."