Former Cleveland slugger Manny Ramirez is one of the greatest right-handed hitters of all time, and he absolutely belongs in baseball’s Hall of Fame no matter what.
When you hear the name Manny Ramirez, your mind most likely goes to one of two places: the absolute dominant power hitter in the middle of the Boston Red Sox lineup, or you simply thought of the phrase “Manny being Manny”.
In 2009, Ramirez failed a test showing that he was positive for human chorionic gonadotropin (HGC), which is a woman’s fertility drug, but is known to be used by those coming off a steroid cycle. I am not here to pass judgment on whether or not Manny used steroids, or if it was just another case of “Manny being Manny” experimenting with a woman’s pregnancy drug.
Whatever you want to believe, he was suspended for fifty games.
I could get into where steroids are more of an advantage than knowing the pitch about to be thrown (definitely not), but I won’t get into that rant at the moment. My personal opinion about the steroid era is quite simplistic. The Hall of Fame is a baseball museum and should showcase everything about the game. Doesn’t matter if the topic is good, bad, or downright weird. If it happened in our game and was noteworthy enough to still be discussed decades, and in some cases centuries, later… well, it belongs in the MUSEUM that represents the history of the sport.
Long before Ramirez’s 2009 suspension, back in 1993, a young ballplayer made his debut in professional baseball. Nothing noteworthy about his first crack at the show, as he appeared in only 22 games. Not until the following season is where I would like to begin – Ramirez’s reign of pure offensive savagery.
From 1994-2000, he was a Cleveland slugger, part of one of the most famous offensive teams in major-league history.
Manny Ramirez in 945 Games with Cleveland
152 OPS+ (52% better than the average player)
Over that span, he had 234 home runs, 799 RBI, 660 runs scored, and 1,077 hits, making Ramirez’s average season a robust 33 home runs, 114 RBIs, 94 runs, and 154 hits. He was a complete beast on the offensive level. Surprisingly, if you compare his strikeouts to the big sluggers today – 110 per season mixed with the other numbers – any team would absolutely take that.
Along with the regular season, Manny’s postseason numbers in Cleveland are nothing to ignore when you compare them to the next chapter of his career. Following this run, the Red Sox would bring him in on an eight-year deal worth $160 million.
He will always be known as a clutch performer, winning two World Series and leading all players in postseason history with 29 home runs. He won the World Series MVP in 2004 and was a major part of how the Red Sox ended their historic 86-year drought. In his eight years with the Red Sox, Ramirez’s numbers are slightly better than his time in Cleveland, although he had around 600 more at-bats. He hit 38 more home runs and had 64 more RBIs. His WAR was 30.6 with Cleveland and 29.5 with Boston. His average, OBP, SLG, OPS and OPS+ are almost identical.
Manny Ramirez in 1,083 Games with Boston
It’s incredible how he was able to be so consistent with both teams. He put together sixteen years with staggering numbers. After the Red Sox, he went to the Los Angles Dodgers, and he still produced with them, with an OPS of over 1.000 in just under 900 at-bats. His defense was far from the best with -90 defensive runs saved, but he more than made up for it with his bat. His career WAR is just under 67, his WOBA is 418 and his WRC+ is 153.
Manny Ramirez is simply one of the best right-handed hitters to ever play the game and it’s time to put him in the Hall of Fame.