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Manuel Aristides (Onelcida) Ramirez was born on May 30, 1972 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic and is the left fielder of the Boston Red Sox, though he began his career with the Cleveland Indians. Despite his eccentric personality, Ramirez has continued to produce for the Sox year in and year out, teaming with David Ortiz as Major League Baseball's most feared back-to-back duo.
Ramirez was drafted by the Indians with the 13th pick in the 1991 June amateur draft and made his debut with the team on September 2, 1993. In his rookie campaign in 1994, Ramirez hit 17 home runs with 60 RBIs and finished second behind Bob Hamelin in the Rookie of the Year voting.
Five years later, in 1999, Ramirez drove in 165 runs in just 147 games, the highest total since Jimmie Foxx plated 175 in 1938. He finished third in the MVP voting that year, tied with teammate Roberto Alomar as the Indians won the AL Central division crown but lost to the team Ramirez would later sign with as a free agent in 2001, the Boston Red Sox.
In all, Ramirez hit 236 home runs and drove in 804 RBIs and set single season career-highs in home runs (45), RBIs (165), and runs scored (131) as an Indian.
Boston Red Sox
After Manny signed one of the richest contracts ever when he inked his deal with Boston in November 2000, he proved that at least his play was worth every penny. In his first year with the Sox, Ramirez led the team in homers (41), RBIs (125), hits (162), batting average (.306), on-base percentage (.405), slugging percentage (.609), doubles (33), walks (81), and, yes, strikeouts too (147). In 2002, he only played in 120 games but still managed to hit 33 home runs and drive in 107 runs with a .349 batting average.
Though the phrase itself wasn't coined until 2005, this year could be described as the unofficial beginning of the "Manny being Manny" years in Boston, as Ramirez's eccentric and sometimes disruptive oddball behavior took its toll. During a stretch in the summer, Manny missed several games due to pharyngitis but was spotted in a bar at the hotel he lives. A week later, he refused to pinch hit and was benched by then-manager Grady Little.
Despite this, Manny still hit .325 on the season with 37 home runs and 104 RBIs as he and the Red Sox made it to the American League Championship Series before losing to the rival New York Yankees in seven games.
In 2004, Ramírez 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, Ramírez 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. Also along with Ortiz, Ramírez hit back-to-back home runs six times, tying the major league single-season mark set by Hank Greenberg and Rudy York (Detroit Tigers) and Frank Thomas and Magglio Ordóñez (Chicago White Sox).
In the All-Star Game, facing Roger Clemens in the top of the first inning, Ramírez hit a two-run home run, giving his teammates an immediate 3-0 lead. Along with Derek Jeter (a single), Ichiro Suzuki (a double) and Ivan Rodriguez (a triple), Ramírez and company 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.
On May 15, Ramírez hit his 400th home run, off Gil Meche of the Seattle Mariners. Ramírez is one of only 45 players in the 400 home run club. On July 5, Ramírez hit his 20th career grand slam —and his third of the season— off Chris Young of the Texas Rangers. Only Lou Gehrig, with 23, has hit more. He finished the season batting .292 and tied a career-high with 45 home runs.
In 130 games, Manny hit 35 home runs and posted his ninth straight season with 100+ runs batted in and had a career-high 100 walks on the season, but the Red Sox finished the season in lackluster fashion, finishing third in the AL East.
Ramirez opened the 2007 season in a slump, hitting just .202 with three home runs in the month of April. But he righted the ship before the All-Star Break by finishing the first half with a .284 batting average, 11 home runs and 45 runs batted in to earn himself his 11th trip to the All-Star Game. In the 2007 Postseason, Ramirez hit his first walkoff home-run since 1996, when he played for the Indians, to give the Red Sox a 6-3 walk off win over the Angels in Game 2 of the ALDS. Ramirez hit his 22nd postseason homerun in game 3 on the 2007 ALDS off Angels pitcher Jeff Weaver, this homerun tied him with Bernie Williams (Yankees) for the most post season homeruns of all-time.
- Won a World Series with the Boston Red Sox in 2004 and 2007
- Won the World Series MVP in 2004
- Won the Hank Aaron Award in 1999 and 2004
- Was an All Star in 1995, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, and 2005
- Won a Silver Slugger in 1995, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, and 2005
- Finished 3rd in the MVP voting in 1999 and 2004. Finished 4th in 2005
- Lead the league in AVG in 2002. His .314 career mark is good enough for 76th all-time and 7th among active players
- Lead the league in OBP in 2002 and 2003. His .409 career mark is good enough for 40th all-time, 9th among active players
- Lead the league in SLG in 1999, 2000, and 2004. His .599 career mark is good enough for 9th all-time, 4th among active players
- Lead the league in HR in 2004. His 435 career HR is good enough for 33rd all-time, 8th among active players
- Lead the league in RBI in 1999. His 1414 career RBI is good enough for 59th all-time, 8th among active players
- Has had at least 30 HR and 100 RBI in 10 of the last 11 seasons
- Combined with David Ortiz to become the first pair of AL teammates since Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig in 1931 to both hit .300 with 40 HR and 100 RBI
- Currently 10th all time in EqA (equivalent average).
Love him or hate him, Ramirez is one of the best hitters in the league, and should continue to be for the time being. He's only 33, and given the performances of many players in this era well into their late 30's and early 40s, he should be quite productive for a while.
Ramirez is an extreme fastball hitter, and loves the ball up in the zone. However, he is capable of hitting just about anything anywhere near the plate. Manny does tend to be a streaky hitter at times, however. He started the season last year real cold, but eventually he got on track. He did struggle with injuries for a while near the end of the season.
*These stats are updated up to July 31, 2008.
*These fielding stats were updated up to 2007.
- Selected by Cleveland Indians in the 1st round (13th pick overall) of the free-agent draft (June 3, 1991 - signed June 5, 1991).
- Granted free agency (October 27, 2000).
- Signed by Boston Red Sox (December 19, 2000).
- On April 4, 1994, in his first game of his rookie season, Manny hit a two run double in the eighth to tie the game. After the double the announcers commented on how he is a tremendous young hitter, but his concentration has been questioned. Manny was then picked off at second base by the catcher! Ramirez was then substituted for a pinch runner in the 10th inning after drawing a walk.
- On May 18, 2002, Manny lost a diamond earring sliding into third base during a rehab start with the Pawtucket Red Sox. After the game, 13 PawSox players and the Syracuse grounds crew combed the third base area and found the stud, but not the diamond that was worth a reported $15,000.
- On September 1, 2003, Manny refused to pinch hit in a game against the Philadelphia Phillies, angering manager Grady Little, who ended up benching him the next game.
- In 2004, Ramírez 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.
- In that same year, Ramírez hit back-to-back home runs six times with David Ortiz, tying the major league single-season mark set by Hank Greenberg and Rudy York (Detroit Tigers) and Frank Thomas and Magglio Ordonez (Chicago White Sox).
- In the 2004 All-Star game, Manny hit a two run home run against Roger Clemens in the top of the first inning, giving the American League an immediate 3-0 lead. Along with Derek Jeter (a single), Ichiro Suzuki (a double) and Ivan Rodriguez (a triple), Ramírez and company became the first All-Star quartet to hit for the cycle during the same inning.
- On April 22, Ramirez was the first of four Red Sox batters to homer in consecutive at-bats in a game against the Yankees. This tied the major-league record. All of the home runs were hit against Yankee pitcher Chase Wright.
- On April 29, Ramirez became the fifth player to hit at least 50 career home runs against the New York Yankees.
- During the 2004 World Series parade, Manny was on a duck boat with a sign saying "Jeter is playing golf today, this is better!" This sign had been handed to him by a fan on the parade route.
- He loves Reggaeton music.
- His favorite movie is "The Matrix".
- His signature two-handed point after making great plays has been embraced by Boston fans and has been imitated by players such as fellow Red Sox and former teammates.
- He has said "I don't worry about my numbers. I'm just going out there having fun. You only live one time. You want to make sure you go out there and play hard and have fun. That's what it's all about."
- Manny lives at the Ritz-Carlton in Boston.
- He has also distributed T-shirts displaying the phrase "Manny Being Manny".