Alex Rodriguez hit his 660th career home run on Friday to tie Willie Mays for fourth on Major League Baseball’s all-time list.
Rodriguez entered the game as a pinch-hitter and connected in the eighth inning at Boston’s Fenway Park on what was the game-winning blow in the New York Yankees’ 3-2 victory.
Nicknamed “A-Rod”, the slugger was greeted in the Yankees dugout with high-fives and hugs, and showered with champagne in the locker room.
“That’s the first champagne bath I’ve had in early May in my career.” Rodriguez told reporters. “Any time that you’re sandwiched between Willie Mays and Babe Ruth is pretty special. “I am thankful to the Yankees and Major League Baseball for allowing me to play.”
The 39-year-old Rodriguez is playing his first season since being suspended for all of 2014 due to a doping violation and has belted six home runs so far in his comeback campaign.
The blast triggered a $6 million bonus clause in A-Rod’s contract for career milestones, though there have been reports the Yankees may contest the payment.
Despite the controversy surrounding the slugger, Mays released a statement congratulating Rodriguez. “Congratulations to Alex Rodriguez on his 660th home run,” Mays said. “Milestones in baseball are meant to be broken and I wish him continued success throughout his career.”
Former Yankee Ruth is third on the all-time list with 714 homers, behind Hank Aaron (755) and Barry Bonds (762).
(Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by Peter Rutherford/John O’Brien)