Manny Ramirez’s stint with the Tampa Bay Rays lasted six games, only five of which Ramirez played in. The Rays signed Ramirez to a one-year deal this off-season after losing Carl Crawford to the Red Sox and Carlos Pena to the Cubs. Hoping that Ramirez could provide some of the missing power in the line-up, the Rays took a chance on the aging superstar. That chance did not turn out well.
Ramirez contributed to one of the worst starts in Rays history (0-6) by going 1 for 16 at the plate with four strikeouts. In a MLB Press Release, it became known that Ramirez was notified of an “issue under Major League Baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.” If you remember, last summer Ramirez served a 50 game suspension for using the female fertility drug human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG).
In a typical Manny fashion, he does the unexpected and retires rather than continue with the process to clear his name (a sign of guilt?). Ramirez has always been memorable on the field so it was only right that he decides to leave the game in a double-take fashion. You may remember the times he would enter the Green Monster in the middle of a game: to make a call, to get a drink and, even, to use the bathroom (which was actually a cup according to him). You may remember him stopping to high-five fans in the middle of a double play or the manny (bad pun, I know) misplayed balls in the outfield.
Despite all the antics, one thing was certain — Manny Ramirez could hit the baseball. It was for this reason so many put up with so much. That leads to the question, does his 555 career home-runs, .312 career batting average, 12 all-star appearances, 9 top-ten MVP finishes (although he never did finish better than 3rd in voting), 9 silver sluggers, 1 batting title and 2 World Series Rings (1 WS MVP) get him in to the Hall of Fame? Or does the 50 game drug suspension, suspicion of another violation and “Manny being Manny” antics overshadow his career achievements?
I think he should make the Hall of Fame based on his on the field performance, but I can’t say that I fully believe that he is a lock to make it. The voters clearly don’t want the steroid stigma devaluing the Hall of Fame, as seen with Mark McGuire (although Ramirez had a better career than McGuire) and how we most likely will see with Rafael Palmeiro, Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds. It’s a tough decision, especially since Ramirez has been officially caught and forced to serve a suspension (Bonds might be confirmed innocent after this trial, but that ‘s another story).
Thoughts on Ramirez’s Hall of Fame chances? Comment Below!
[Photo Credit: BostonBrat.net]