Third baseman for the Bronx Bombers and the recipient of the biggest contract in sports history, A-Rod is alternately loved and hated by Yankees fans.
Born in Washington Heights, A-Rod spent part of his childhood living in the Dominican Republic before settling in Florida. Although he earned a baseball scholarship to attend the University of Miami, he opted to become eligible for the draft, and the Seattle Mariners chose him as their top overall pick in 1993. He made his major league debut with the team as a shortstop at age 18. It wasn't until 1996 though, when he hit 36 home-runs and drove in 123 runs, that he truly emerged as a star. And after several big years in Seattle, A-Rod signed a behemoth 10-year, $252 million contract with the Texas Rangers in 2000.
But while he continued to produce for the Rangers-he won his first MVP award in 2003-his stay down South wasn't without controversy. Fans objected to his outsized salary and when the team's overall performance didn't improve much, they traded him to the Yankees for Alfonso Soriano and Joaquin Arias before the 2004 season. In deference to shortstop Derek Jeter, the Yankees moved A-Rod to third base, which is where he's been collecting those big, fat paychecks ever since. Although he's generated fantastic numbers throughout his career, the knock on A-Rod has always been that he doesn't come through in the clutch, a fact compounded by the massive media attention that comes with playing in New York.
A-Rod married former high school teacher Cynthia Scurtis in 2002. They had two daughters, Natasha and Ella, before A-Rod's marriage to Cynthia spectacularly imploded in July 2008. Rumors began spreading that he'd been in a (not-so) secret relationship with Madonna for months. After the divorce was final, A-Rod cozied up with buff Hollywood blondes like Cameron Diaz and Kate Hudson. His main squeeze these days is former wrestler Torrie Wilson. [Image via Getty]