By LAURA VECSEY
For Major League Baseball players who face a 162-game regular season after spring training and before the October playoffs, "play ball" means at least six months away from the ol’ family homestead — or sleek, waterfront mansion.
In anticipation of the 2012 season’s official start, Forbes magazine recently listed Baseball’s 10 Highest-Paid Players, which included Derek Jeter, Ichiro Suzuki, Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez. While three of these players are members of the high-payroll New York Yankees — who put four on the top paid in baseball along with pitcher CC Sabathia — the rest of the stars have been made millionaires courtesy of big-league teams around the country.
In honor of Opening Day — a baseball fan’s annual rite of spring — we’ve gathered a list of homes of some of the game’s biggest stars. These are the pricey digs that sluggers, pitchers and "glovemen" trade for a spring, summer and fall full of planes, trains and hotel rooms. Every player wants to end up in the World Series, but for these guys, the consolation prize of going home isn’t too shabby.
Derek Jeter’s Home — Davis Island, Tampa, Fla.
Team/position: New York Yankees shortstop
A time will come when New York Yankees’ captain Derek Jeter will turn his last double play and his storied career will come to an end. That’s when the future Hall of Famer will retire to his 30,875-square-foot mansion (photo above) located on Davis Island in Tampa Bay, Fla.
According to the New York Times, the seven-bedroom, nine-bath mansion has a pool, two boat lifts, a drive-through portico and a pair of three-car garages on either end of the property. Jeter bought adjacent waterfront lots on Davis Islands’ Bahama Circle in 2005 and 2006 for $7.7 million under the LLC "Kered" ("Derek" spelled backward).
Alex Rodriguez’s Home – Miami Beach, Fla.
Team/position: New York Yankees third baseman
It’s been a busy year for A-Rod. The biggest deals have been in real estate, including his October 2011 move into his sleek modern house in north Miami Beach (above). A-Rod bought the waterfront lot in 2010 and was on the scene, along with former squeeze Cameron Diaz, during construction of the Todd Michael Glaser-designed property. The house cost about $24 million, which is about what the All-Star third baseman collects each year as baseball’s highest-paid player.
But just like he split from Diaz and took up with former pro wrestler Torrie Wilson, one big real estate deal wasn’t enough for the Miami native. In his adopted town of New York, Rodriguez was said to be heading to The Rushmore, a spanking new condo building on Riverside Boulevard on the Upper West Side real estate market. But less than a year after buying the five-bedroom, 5.5 bathroom, full-floor unit for $5.5 million, the slugger put it on the market for $8 million and has attracted a buyer.
In fact, there’s speculation that A-Rod’s ownership in the condo building helped to sell other units. All of this proves that whether he’s flipping the baseball for a double play on the diamond or flipping apartments or girlfriends, A-Rod has lived up to his dream to be a powerful player in many fields.
Ryan Howard’s Home — Belleair Beach, Fla.
Team/position: Philadelphia Phillies first baseman
Status: Construction set to begin April 2012
Phillies’ slugger Ryan Howard has hit some thunderous homers in his MVP career, but he really belted one out of the park in July 2011 with his plan to build "Casa Del Howard" in the tiny Gulf Coast town of Belleair Beach. Howard’s house, set for groundbreaking just after opening day, will keep him close to the Phillies’ spring training facilities and is expected to cost $23 million.
Even though Howard’s plans are for a house about half the size of Derek Jeter’s Gulf Coast mansion, Howard outdistanced Jeter when it was announced at a Belleair Beach planning board meeting that Casa Del Howard would include a lazy river. After all, why have a pool when you can have a lazy river?
The town amended building codes to accommodate the three-year-plus construction schedule, making it clear they want Howard as a neighbor — and on their tax rolls. Howard bought the 1-acre waterfront lot for $3.5 million in February 2011, had the home razed and cleared the way for his compound (photo above).
Tim Lincecum’s Home — Seattle, Wash.
Team/position: San Francisco Giants pitcher
Status: Purchased condo unit December 2010
They call him "The Freak" in San Francisco, where the two-time Cy Young winner has thrilled baseball fans with his freakishly bedeviling fastball. But back in his hometown of Seattle, where he makes his off-season home, Tim Lincecum made a very nonfreakish real estate move: He bought a Seattle condo for $1.5 million. Not just any condo, but one in the city’s newest, more glitzy buildings, Escala.
With views of the Space Needle and the rest of the Emerald City, Lincecum, a University of Washington grad who said he likes looking across town to where he played college baseball, uses the building’s sleek gym for workouts. It was in the swimming pool there that he dropped 22 pounds prior to Opening Day 2012, and celebrated by inking a two-year, $40-million contract that doesn’t box him in for a long-term stay in the Bay City. Freaky. But a very Lincecum-esque move.
Albert Pujols Home — Wildwood, Mo.
Team/position: Anaheim Angels first baseman
Status: Purchased 2007
A World Series championship with the Cardinals in 2011 after 11 seasons in St. Louis was not enough to keep perennial All-Star Albert Pujols in the Midwest. Instead, the slugging first baseman opted for a lucrative free-agent deal worth $254 million in the American League with the Anaheim Angels where the 32-year-old Puerto Rico native can surely extend his career as a designated hitter.
But so far, there’s no sign that Pujols is selling his French-chateau-style house back in upscale Wildwood — the ‘burbs west of St. Louis. For Pujols, who was second to only the great Stan Musial as a Cardinal icon, it turns out that his stint in St. Louis really was his Gateway to the West.
Carlos Beltran’s Home — Port Washington, N.Y.
Team/position: St. Louis Cardinals outfielder
Status: Listed for sale – $5.8 million
There was a time when the New York Mets made Carlos Beltran the highest-paid center fielder in MLB history at a $17 million-a-year salary. But the $119 million contract with the Mets is a thing of the past, and so is his life in New York. Beltran has moved on to St. Louis, where the reigning World Champs will look for this All-Star to fill the void left by the departure of Albert Pujols.
A sure sign that Beltran won’t be back to New York? He’s listed his luxuriously comfortable Long Island home on the Port Washington real estate market for $5.8 million, hoping to attract a buyer to the desirable North Shore that’s a convenient 25 miles from Manhattan. See more photos of Beltran’s home.
Ichiro Suzuki’s Home — Issaquah, Wash.
Team/position: Seattle Mariners outfielder
Status: Sold in 2009
It figures that the greatest Japanese baseball player in Major League Baseball history would feel at home in the Pacific Coast city of Seattle. Or across Lake Washington in the suburb of Issaquah. It’s here where many of Seattle’s pro athletes have found cool housing havens to suit their lifestyles. That’s also true for Ichiro, the Zen-master hit-machine who resided in this hillside home before trading for a new one nearby.
After listing this home for $1.75 million in early 2009, Ichiro accepted a sale price of $1.35 million and called it a day. As for his career? That continues to surprise. The Mariners’ 11-year leadoff hitter who continually racked up 200-plus-hit seasons has been dropped to the No. 3 spot for the start of the 2012 season, where the Mariners opened in Tokyo on March 28. Ichiro got the job done, going 4-for-5. See more photos of Ichiro’s home.
Jonathan Papelbon’s Home — Boston
Team/position: Philadelphia Phillies pitcher
Status: Listed for sale — $3.1 million
They loved him in Boston — at least until he insulted their baseball knowledge — but what happens to the brash closer Jonathan Papelbon when and if he blows his first save opportunity in Philadelphia, home of sports’ most notoriously "difficult" fans? Well, the 31-year-old righty signed a four-year, $50 million contract with the Phillies in November, the richest for a reliever in baseball history.
The four-time All-Star has converted 30 or more saves in six consecutive seasons and has earned his monster contract, so maybe he’s not sweating the Boston townhouse penthouse (above) he’s leaving behind, along with his Red Sox teammates.
Adrian Beltre’s Home — Los Angeles
Team/position: Texas Rangers third baseman
Status: Listed for sale
Sometimes, things just work out great. And that’s been the case for Adrian Beltre. The All-Star third baseman signed a five-year, $80-million deal with the Texas Rangers last year and took home the Gold Glove and the Silver Slugger award. This year, the 32-year-old is batting No. 3 and has assumed the leadership role with the young squad that has come close to World Series glory, but may need the extra push of a seasoned vet.
So, with his stature high in Arlington, Beltre has put his Bradbury, Calif., mansion back on the market for $19.5 million. He’s tried to sell it before, since the former Dodger has since played with Seattle and Boston before moving to Texas last season. See more photos of Beltre’s home.
Mark Teixeira’s Home – Westlake, Texas
Team/position: New York Yankees first baseman
Status: Available as rental ($15,000/month)
The Yankees were able to lure Mark Teixeira to New York with a $180 million deal in 2008, but that left a big piece of real estate hanging in Texas: What to do with that stunning custom home in the super-exclusive Vaquero Golf Club enclave in Westlake? For two years, the home was listed for $5.75 million before a price drop to $4.55 million in April 2010 and another in November 2010 to $3.95 million.
When that didn’t attract a buyer, Teixeira did the next-best thing: He rented the home to Sean Payton, the now-suspended head coach of the New Orleans Saints. With Payton having bought his own home in the area, Teixeira’s home is again available for $15,000 per month on the Westlake real estate market, unless someone nabs it for its list price of $3.95 million. See photos of Teixera’s home.
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