Alex Rodriguez is more of a Say Nay Kid than a Say Hey Kid like Willie Mays. Rodriguez repeatedly said nay when asked if he took banned performance enhancing drugs–that is, until he finally said yes, I took them. If Rodriguez–whose talent was massive and whose paychecks have been even bigger–represents what’s wrong with baseball, then Willie Mays represents a purity of spirit and an athletic ideal that will always be baseball at its finest. They may still love steroid-admitting Barry Bonds in San Francisco, but it’s Willie Mays’ statue outside the ballpark.
But Rodriguez has more lives than an alley cat, and in the very near future he’ll hit the one home run he needs to tie Willie Mays on the All-Time home run list at 660. Then he’ll pass Mays. There’s some debate about whether A-Rod will get the money owed him (an extra $6 million) for meeting this milestone. But there’s no debate really anywhere about which 660 home runs are better, more golden or more true–except maybe in Alex Rodriguez’s mom’s house. A-Rod moves to #4 on the list–and the list sheds a tiny tear.