Alfonso Soriano
How He Got To
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Born in 1976 in the sugar mill town of San Pedro de Macoris, Alfonso Soriano at the age of 5 began playing little league ball almost every day for about 10 years.

“When I reached 15, a lot of people told me I had the talent to play professional baseball. I worked very hard at it because I needed to help my family. I worked every morning from 9 to 12 with about 25 other kids.”

After Soriano convinced scouts he had the right stuff, he played minor league ball in Japan for two years. Then he really hit the big time.

His first major league debut was as a New York Yankee, in 1999.

The first time he played in Yankee Stadium, Soriano says the feeling was “just awesome. I never thought that one day I would play with the best team in the world. It was unbelievable.

“When other kids come to me about playing professional, I tell them listen to your Mama, go to school and work hard and you just might” make it.

Soriano marked 2002, his first full year as a starter, with unusual distinction. Coming in third for the American League rookie of the year, he led all American League rookies with 18 home runs and led the Yankees in stolen bases.

However, Soriano was traded after a poor batting performance in the World Series. Soriano still has trouble with his batting at times.

In 2005, playing for the Texas Rangers, he struck out almost 120 times according to ESPN and has the reputation for striking at almost anything.

But he's still doing OK. His reported salary for 2005 is $7.5 million.

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