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June 27, 2011

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The loved and hated Manny Ramirez up to bat.

Manuel "Manny" Aristides Ramírez Onelcida (born May 30, 1972 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic) is a Dominican-American Major League Baseball left fielder for the Los Angeles Dodgers. A nine-time Silver Slugger, and one of twenty-four people to have hit over 500 career home runs, he is well recognized for his strong offensive abilities. He has the most career grand slams of any active player – and the second most of any player after Lou Gehrig, For the past eleven years, Ramirez has been a fixture in the All-Star Game, and is a twelve-time All-Star. Ramirez’ authorized biography, titled "Becoming Manny: Inside the Life of Baseball’s Most Enigmatic Slugger" was released in bookstores March 10, 2009.

Manuel "Manny" Aristides Ramírez Onelcida (born May 30, 1972 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic) is a Dominican-American Major League Baseball left fielder for the Los Angeles Dodgers. A nine-time Silver Slugger, and one of twenty-four people to have hit over 500 career home runs, he is well recognized for his strong offensive abilities. He has the most career grand slams of any active player – and the second most of any player after Lou Gehrig, For the past eleven years, Ramirez has been a fixture in the All-Star Game, and is a twelve-time All-Star. Ramirez’ authorized biography, titled "Becoming Manny: Inside the Life of Baseball’s Most Enigmatic Slugger" was released in bookstores March 10, 2009.

The Cleveland Indians selected Ramirez with the 13th pick of the 1991 draft and assigned to the Rookie-level Burlington Indians for his professional debut. He was named the Appalachian League MVP and was selected by Baseball America as short-season Player of the Year while slugging 19 homers and driving in 63 runs in 59 games, while leading the league in slugging and total bases.

With the Single-A Kinston Indians in 1992, Ramirez battled injuries but still hit .278 with 13 homers and 63 RBI in 81 games and was named as the No.3 Prospect and the "Most Exciting Player in the Carolina League" by Baseball America.

In 1993, Ramirez was named "Minor League Player of the Year" by Baseball America while combining to hit .333 with 31 homers and 115 RBI in 129 games with the Double-A Canton-Akron Indians and Triple-A Charlotte Knights.

[edit] Cleveland Indians
Ramirez made his major league debut on September 2, 1993 against the Minnesota Twins, going hitless in four at-bats as the designated hitter. The following day against the New York Yankees he went 3 for 4 with 2 home runs and a double. His first career homer was against Mélido Pérez.

In his first full season in the majors, Ramirez finished second in the Rookie of the Year voting after batting .269 with 17 homers and 60 RBI in 91 games. He won his first career Silver Slugger Award following the 1995 season and also was selected to his first All-Star Game.

From 1993 to 2000, he had 236 home runs and 804 RBI in 967 games for the Cleveland Indians, including a career-high 45 home runs in 1998, and a career-high 165 RBI in 1999, when he hit .333 with 44 homers and scored 131 runs (also a career high). His 165 RBI in 1999 were the highest total by any player since Jimmie Foxx (1938). During his time in Cleveland, he played in two World Series: 1995 and 1997.

[edit] Boston Red Sox
In December 2000, Ramirez signed an eight-year, 0 million deal with the Boston Red Sox, with million options for 2009 and 2010, pushing the total value of the contract to 0 million for 10 years. [1] Ramirez immediately delivered for the Red Sox, hitting .408 in April. His final season stats were a .306 batting average with 41 home runs and 125 RBI. On June 23, Ramirez hit two monstrous home runs against the Toronto Blue Jays at Fenway Park, with the second one hitting the very top of the light tower in left field. The length of the home run was officially listed at 501 feet[2], just short of Ted Williams’ record of 502 feet.[3]

Manny only played in 120 games in 2002, due to a hamstring injury that put him on the DL for more than a month from mid-May to the end of June. Despite this, Ramirez won the American League batting title, hitting .349, and his .647 slugging percentage was second in the league behind Jim Thome’s .677. Ramirez hit his 300th career home run on August 26 against the Angels’ Ramon Ortiz. It was the first of two home runs of the night for Ramirez, as he went 5-for-5 overall.

In the summer of 2003, Ramirez missed several games with pharyngitis. When it became public that he was spotted in a bar (in the same hotel where Ramirez lives) with a close friend, Yankees infielder Enrique Wilson when Ramirez was supposedly too ill to play in the Yankees series, Boston manager Grady Little benched him for one game. Despite his strong play in the 2003 postseason, the Red Sox lost to the Yankees in a seven game showdown in the ALCS. The new Red Sox ownership and management, trying to rid themselves of his massive contract, put Ramirez on irrevocable waivers, thus making him available to any team willing to assume the remainder of his contract. However, all 29 other teams passed on the opportunity to claim Ramirez.

In 2004, Ramirez led the American League in home runs (43), slugging percentage (.613) and OPS (1.009); he also finished third in RBI (130), sixth in on base percentage (.397), eighth in walks (82), tenth in runs (108), and posted a .308 batting average.

In addition, Ramirez and David Ortiz became the first pair of American League teammates to hit 40 home runs, have 100 RBI, and bat .300 since the Yankees’ Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig in 1931. Together they also hit back-to-back home runs six times, tying the major league single-season mark set by the Detroit Tigers’ Hank Greenberg and Rudy York and later matched by the Chicago White Sox’s Frank Thomas and Magglio Ordóñez.

In the 2004 Major League Baseball All-Star Game, Ramirez hit a two-run home run off Roger Clemens in the top of the first inning, giving his teammates a 3-0 lead. Ramirez, Derek Jeter (with a single), Ichiro Suzuki (with a double) and Iván Rodríguez (with a triple) became the first All-Star quartet to hit for the cycle during the same inning. His season was capped off by being named the MVP of the World Series as the Red Sox won their first title since 1918.

[edit] 2005–06
On May 15, Ramirez hit his 400th home run off Gil Meche of the Seattle Mariners. Ramirez is one of only 45 MLB players in the 400 home run club. On July 5, Ramirez hit his 20th career grand slam — and his third of the season — off Chris Young of the Texas Rangers. Off the field, this season was one of much conflict for Ramirez. Persistent trade rumors (generally involving the New York Mets) dogged him all season. After the Red Sox were eliminated in the first round of that year’s playoffs by the eventual World Series champion Chicago White Sox, Ramirez once again expressed a wish to be traded. This included a threat to not show up for spring training if his latest demand was not met by Red Sox GM Theo Epstein. Toward this end, in December 2005, Ramirez put his Ritz-Carlton condominium up for sale.

Trade rumors circulated with Ramirez possibly going to the Baltimore Orioles or Mets, but no deal was reached. By January 5, 2006, Ramirez changed his mind, stating to ESPN Deportes he was dropping the demand. His agents, in turn, insisted their client was still open to a trade.[4]

On June 10, Ramirez became the 31st player in history to hit 450 home runs, with a solo shot off Francisco Cordero of the Texas Rangers. Three weeks later, on July 1, he collected his 2000th hit. The remainder of the season was feast or famine for Ramirez: beginning in mid-July, he had a 28-game hitting streak, including 12 multi-hit games, 8 HR, and 28 RBI, but then missed 28 games from mid-August on with soreness in his right knee.

[edit] 2007 season

Manny Ramirez warming up before a game in 2007.On April 22, Ramirez was the first of four Red Sox batters to homer in consecutive at bats in a game against the Yankees, tying a league record. All of the home runs were against Chase Wright.[5] On April 29, Ramirez became the fifth player to hit 50 career home runs against the New York Yankees.

Ramirez had a well below average year, finishing with a .296 batting average, 20 home runs, and 88 runs batted in. His season was cut short when he strained his left oblique in late August during a New York Yankees series, but he did return to the lineup for the final home stand of the season. In 2007, he had the highest fielding percentage, .990, among left fielders in the American League, [6] tied for second in the Major League; he was ranked 6th highest in range factor of all AL left fielders, 1.72,[7] 16th in both leagues, but had the lowest zone rating of Major League left fielders with 100+ games: .713. [8] He made two errors during the 2007 season in left field, [9] and tied for 5th overall in the Majors in assists from left field. [9]

In the postseason, Ramirez hit a walk-off 3-run home run in Game 2 of the American League Division Series against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. In the fourth inning of the series’ final game, Ramirez combined with teammate David Ortiz to hit back-to-back home runs off pitcher Jered Weaver. This home run tied him with Bernie Williams for first place all-time in postseason home runs.[10] On October 13, Ramirez hit his 23rd postseason home run, passing Bernie Williams for the most all-time.

He also helped the Red Sox to reach and win the 2007 World Series, where they swept the Colorado Rockies. In the 2007 postseason, Ramirez batted .348 with 4 home runs and 16 RBI.

[edit] 2008 season
On May 31, Ramirez hit his 500th home run, against Baltimore Orioles pitcher Chad Bradford at Camden Yards in the 7th inning on the first pitch, becoming the 24th player in MLB history to do so. He joined two other Red Sox players, Jimmie Foxx and Ted Williams in this exclusive home run club.

On June 5, during a game at Fenway against the Tampa Bay Rays, an altercation between Manny Ramirez and Kevin Youkilis resulted from Ramirez objecting to what he believed was excessive – and chronic – complaining about the strike zone by Youkilis in the dugout, as well as the first baseman’s penchant for throwing equipment after at-bats. Before the fifth inning – and after the Red Sox-Rays punching session – Ramirez was caught on NESN cameras slapping Youkilis. The pair also exchanged words, and had to be separated by teammates, coaches, and training staff. Youkilis headed out to the field still barking at Ramirez, while Ramirez was escorted into the tunnel leading to the clubhouse by bench coach Brad Mills and trainer Paul Lessard. According to three sources, Ramirez had told Youkilis to "cut that [expletive] out." That was what provoked Youkilis and started the problem.[11] Later in the season, during the series with the Houston Astros, Ramirez had a physical altercation with Red Sox traveling secretary Jack McCormick. The two were arguing over Ramirez’s large game-day request for 16 tickets to the game in Houston, when Ramirez reportedly pushed McCormick to the ground after saying "Just do your job." The two were quickly separated and Ramirez later apologized for his behavior.[12][13] The matter was dealt with internally and Ramirez was fined.

On July 25, after sitting out one game against the Seattle Mariners with a sore knee, Ramirez was originally slated to start against the Yankees. Several minutes before the game, however, he informed manager Terry Francona, through a bench coach, that he would not be playing. During this series against the Yankees Ramirez was directed to an area hospital for an MRI on both knees, the results showed no damage.[14] When back in action, Ramirez frequently did not run out ground balls. Assuming that this was due to his displeasure about his contract situation, many Red Sox fans and reporters, including Dan Shaughnessy of the Boston Globe, called for Ramirez to be traded.

[edit] Los Angeles Dodgers

Manny Ramirez at Dodger Stadium when the Dodgers clinched the NL West, 25 Sept. 2008On July 31, 2008, Manny was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers in a three-way deal, in which he was almost traded to the Florida Marlins. The Boston Red Sox acquired outfielder Jason Bay and minor league infielder Josh Wilson,[15] and the Pittsburgh Pirates got infielder Andy LaRoche, and pitching prospect Bryan Morris from the Dodgers, and outfielder Brandon Moss and pitcher Craig Hansen from the Red Sox.[16]

Ramirez has always worn uniform number 24, but the Dodgers have retired that number in honor of Hall-of-Fame manager Walter Alston. Ramirez countered the Dodgers’ suggestion of 28 by suggesting 34, but no Dodger has worn that number since Fernando Valenzuela. Ramirez finally accepted number 99, but the next day asked for 28, the Dodgers’ original suggestion. However, the Dodgers’ marketing department had already begun producing merchandise with number 99, so Ramirez stuck with that number.

Ramirez hit his first home run with the Dodgers on August 2, 2008, in a game against the Diamondbacks. He currently sits in 16th place among baseball’s all-time home run leaders with 527.

Ramirez was named the National League Player of the Month for August 2008. He hit .415 (44-for-106) with seven doubles, nine home runs, 25 RBI and 21 runs scored during the month. He finished the season with the Dodgers hitting a .396 batting average, 17 home runs, and 53 RBI.[17]

Ramirez finished the season with 37 home runs and 121 runs batted in. Among all major leaguers, he finished 3rd in batting average, 2nd in slugging percentage, and 3rd in OPS. WIth Ramirez in the line-up, the Dodgers won the National League West, then swept the Chicago Cubs in a division series before losing the National League Championship Series to the eventual World Series winner Philadelphia Phillies in five games. During the playoffs, Manny hit .520 with 4 home runs, 2 doubles, 11 walks and 10 RBI.

Ramirez was fourth in the voting for the 2008 NL MVP award, with 138 points, behind Albert Pujols, Ryan Howard, and Ryan Braun.[2]

After the Dodgers lost in the playoffs, Manny was asked about his future. "Gas is up, and so am I", was his reply, indicating that he expected to be valued highly in the free agent market. However, only the Dodgers appeared interested in signing Ramirez. After long and contentious negotiations that dragged into the start of spring training, Ramirez signed a two-year million contract with Los Angeles on March 4.[18]

Originally from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, in 1985, Ramirez joined his parents who relocated from the Dominican Republic to Washington Heights, a predominantly Dominican neighborhood in New York City. He played outfield for George Washington High School from 1989-1991.[19]

In 2004, Ramirez missed a Red Sox game to become an American citizen.[20] He entered the next game running onto the field to a standing ovation while carrying a small American flag held in his hand. He planted the flag in the left outfield corner of the field, in the shadow of the Green Monster, where it remained for the entire game.

Ramirez has three sons: Manuelito "Manny" Ramirez (b. 1995) from a previous relationship; Manny Ramirez, Jr. (b. 2003), and Lucas Ramirez (b. February 2006) with his current wife Juliana. In the off-season, the family lives in Weston, Florida.

Many stories depict Ramirez as a carefree, naïve individual whose concentration is dedicated solely to playing baseball. For example, one story (reminiscent of Yogi Berra) took place in his early years with the Cleveland Indians in June 1994. As teammates were gathered in the Indians clubhouse watching news of the O.J. Simpson Bronco chase, Ramirez asked what was going on. A player responded, "they are chasing O.J.", to which Ramirez responded in disbelief, "What did Chad do?" (in reference to their current teammate Chad Ogea).[21]

Though his hitting ability is undeniable, Ramirez has been described as a prima donna[22] and has periodically displayed a lack of enthusiasm and/or concentration, with mental lapses in both the outfield or running the bases. These incidents are typically described as "Manny Moments" or "Manny Being Manny." The first known documented usage[23] of the phrase "Manny Being Manny" is attributed to then-Indian’s Manager Mike Hargrove, quoted in a 1995 Newsday article [24].

On July 18, 2005, Ramirez disappeared into the "Green Monster" during a visit to the mound by pitching coach Dave Wallace with two outs in the top of the 6th inning. When pitcher Wade Miller[25] was ready to resume pitching, Ramirez was nowhere to be found. Manny returned to the wall several times since during pitching changes, but always returned on time. Ramirez also was seen playing left field at Fenway with a water bottle in his back pocket.

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