Rodriguez hit the homer, his 16th of the year, as part of the Yankees' nine-run seventh inning against the Texas Rangers. New York had already brought in six runs and batted around when Rodriguez took right-hander Jamey Wright deep over the right-field wall, driving home Johnny Damon and Bobby Abreu.
Mantle, a Hall of Fame outfielder who played for the Yankees from 1951 through 1968, is 13th on baseball's all-time list with 536 home runs. Next up on the list for A-Rod would be longtime Phillies Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt, who hit 548 home runs.
Before Wednesday's game, Yankees manager Joe Girardi was asked if he believed Rodriguez had been thinking about the idea of reaching Mantle's historic mark.
"He's going to pass a lot of big names this year, and he's passed some already," Girardi said. "I think it becomes a situation when you're at 599 and 699, really milestone home runs. He's passing people on a regular basis now.
"I think it is a big deal -- I don't want to take away from the people that he's passing and the careers that they've had -- but he's already passing some pretty big names. Mickey, that's as big as it gets, but I don't think he'll press for that."
The 32-year-old Rodriguez is in the first season of a 10-year contract with the Yankees that could be worth as much as $300 million if he eventually supplants current home run king Barry Bonds, who has hit 762 Major League home runs. Last Aug. 4, Rodriguez became the youngest player to reach the 500 home run plateau, doing so against the Royals in New York to surpass Foxx for that record.
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less