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Alfonso Soriano Biography

With power, speed and a sweet swing, Alfonso Soriano has helped the Texas Rangers go from bottom feeders to playoff contenders. The fourth year, second baseman who was traded by the New York Yankees for Alex Rodriguez, was named MVP of the 2004 MLB All-Star Game after hitting a three-run homerun and leading the American League to a 9-4 victory over the National League. Here's a closer look at the tall and athletic infielder who has the Rangers going for a division title.

Soriano's Start

Alfonso Soriano was born in the Dominican Republic on January 7, 1978. He began playing baseball when he was six and always dreamed of being a big league shortstop. But it took Alfonso a few years to grow into his tall and lanky frame. He was known as The Mule because he was so slow and moved awkwardly trying to chase down ground balls. However, his dad kept encouraging him to play and when Alfonso Soriano was 16, he was signed by the Hiroshima Toyo Carp of the Japanse Central League. It wasn't exactly the big-league dream Alfonso had in mind, but at least it was a start.

Soriano and Sushi

It was obviously a big change for Alfonso Soriano to move from the Dominican Republic to Japan. He didn't know the language and didn't really like the food. For the first two months he was there, Alfonso Soriano only ate ice cream, fruit, candy and juice because those were the only foods he recognized. By the time Spriano left, he knew how to speak Japanese, was eating properly and was a better baseball player.

Soriano the Superstar

Alfonso Soriano signed with the New York Yankees in 1998 and spent three years playing in the minor leagues before he became a full-time starter for the Yankees in 2001. After a decent rookie season, Alfonso Soriano rose to superstar status in 2002. The lean, athletic infielder became the first second baseman to hit 30 homeruns and steal 30 bases in the same season and was a finalist for the league's MVP award. Soriano's combination of speed and hitting have made him one of the most dangerous leadoff hitters in Major League Baseball and a favorite of baseball fans. Fans voted him to start at second base for the American League at the 2003 All-Star Game in Chicago. Alfonso Soriano was traded by the Yankees in 2004 for Alex Rodriguez.

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