For years Manny Ramirez was the most feared hitter in the American League. As the cleanup hitter for the Boston Red Sox, Ramirez formed a deadly combo with fellow Dominican native David Ortiz. During his tenure in Boston, Manny built on an already impressive resume that he had started with the Cleveland Indians. Ramirez won two World Series in Boston and was the MVP of the 2004 Fall Classic.
In May of 2008, Ramirez immortalized himself with the greats of the game by hitting his 500th home run off Orioles reliever Chad Bradford.
July 31, 2008 is a day that stunned the baseball world. On this day Ramirez was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers in a three-team deal that sent outfielder Jason Bay to Boston. While Manny finished 2008 strongly, hitting 17 home runs in 53 games with the Dodgers, his career would never quite be the same. The Dodgers traded him in August 2010 to the Chicago White Sox and then he signed with the Tampa Bay Rays in the offseason. After playing a week for the Rays in 2011, Manny Ramirez retired from baseball. After failing a second test for performance enhancing drugs, Ramirez faced a 100-game suspension. Rather than serve the suspension, the 12-time All Star decided to call it quits.
Now, the 39 year-old slugger has made it public that he wants to attempt a comeback. During his playing years Manny got the reputation of being a loose cannon. This doesn’t mean he was like Milton Bradley, no in fact Ramirez rarely argued with umpires and seemed even tempered, the fact is sometimes he was just mental. In Boston he got into a physical alteration with Boston’s traveling secretary and would often do off the wall antics. However, because of his great production people just deemed it “Manny being Manny.” It is just that “Manny being Manny” that people in Cleveland, Boston and Los Angeles got tired of. So why would any team want to deal with a guy who is a complete headache, not to mention one who has to sit out the first fifty games of the season.
In a recent interview with ESPN’s Pedro Gomez, the world got to see a different side of Manny Ramirez. A soft side, at one point in the interview Ramirez broke down and had tears come from his eyes. Many will say this is just an act but in the opinion of this writer, that was all real.
Ramirez claims he can still play the game and looking at his career statistics it’s hard to imagine that he could be somewhat productive. Ramirez said that if a team signs him then they will have received a role model, this is his way as he says “of showing my kids that you can make a mistake and try to fix it.” The fact is, Manny Ramirez has admitted that he made a mistake but he doesn’t want that to tarnish his legacy.
As a die hard Red Sox fan, Manny Ramirez was a childhood hero of mine and call me crazy but I really believed the guy when he said he has changed for the better. I don’t consider steroid users role models nor do I think they should be allowed in the Hall of Fame, but let me say that if I had a vote, Manny Ramirez would get mine.
I do think there is a place for Manny Ramirez in baseball, with spring training just around the corner and teams trying to fill out their roster someone will take a chance on a guy with a .312 lifetime batting average and 555 round trippers.
Folks, I’d like your opinion where you feel Manny Ramirez will end up or even if he has a place in the game. Leave a reply in the comments section below.