Alex Rodriguez's six home runs in the 2009 postseason were key to the Yankees' 27th World Series title. (AP)
Leading up to Christmas, we're counting down each day with the best players to wear numbers 1-25 for the Yankees. The list includes Hall of Famers, recent stars, title-winning managers and fan favorites that have donned pinstripes over the last 115 years.
Let's continue with No. 13, slugging third baseman Alexander Emmanuel "A-Rod" Rodriguez.
The No. 13 has been issued plenty of times in Yankees history, but only one player has made an All-Star appearance and made such a significant impact: Alex Rodriguez.
Though he started his career in Seattle, Rodriguez made his biggest splash in New York. Over 12 seasons, he hit 351 home runs, third-most for a Yankee right-handed hitter, with 1,096 RBI while winning two MVPs and guiding the team to a World Series title.
The No. 1 overall pick of the Mariners in 1993, it took A-Rod all of a year to debut in the Majors, playing in Seattle at age 18. He helped drive the Mariners to new heights in the late-90s, and his early debut meant an early entry to free agency.
After the 2000 season, Rodriguez signed an MLB-record 10-year, $252 million deal with the Rangers. Three years in, he was dealt to the Yankees in a blockbuster trade that sent Alfonso Soriano (and nearly Robinson Cano) to Texas. Derek Jeter was firmly entrenched at shortstop, so Rodriguez moved to third base, where he would spend the rest of his career in the field.
Never one to make a shy introduction, Rodriguez was an impact bat right away in the Bronx. He posted 36 homers and 108 RBI, a down year by his standards, but impressive nonetheless.
A-Rod took his talents to new heights in the next few seasons, winning the MVP in 2005 and 2007. He hit 48 and 54 homers, respectively, in those years and drove in a league-leading 156 RBI and scored 143 runs in 2007. Rodriguez was an All-Star in his first five seasons as a Yankee, averaging 42 homers and 123 RBI while batting .303/.401/.573.
He would cement himself as a Yankee with a new 10-year deal after the '07 season, measuring over $275 million, a new MLB record.
After a strong 2008, he was limited to just 124 games in 2009 but still produced 30 homers and 100 RBI for the 12th straight year. That year, he overcame a reputation for poor playoff performance to help carry Yankees to a World Series crown.
Rodriguez reached base in half of his plate appearances and hit six home runs that postseason, with three game-tying homers coming in the seventh inning or later. He produced the game-winning double in the pivotal Game 4 of the Fall Classic.
A-Rod earned All-Star nods in both 2010 and '11, but injuries began to hasten his decline. He was suspended for the entirety of the 2014 season after testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs. Coming back with a new attitude, he rebounded in his penultimate season, hitting 33 homers as the Yankees' designated hitter and eclipsing 3,000 hits for his career.
As a Yankee, Rodriguez batted .283/.378/.900 and produced over 50 wins above replacement. He hit his 500th and 600th home runs at Yankee Stadium, finishing his career with 696, the fourth-most in history.
A-Rod is unlikely to receive induction into the Hall of Fame due to PEDs, but his light-tower power, big personality and 2009 postseason endeared him to a large portion of Yankee fans. Since retirement, he has moved into the broadcast booth for Sunday Night Baseball and still serves as a special advisor for the Yankees.