Could this possibly be the last time it’s a case of Manny being Manny?
It certainly seems so.
Facing a potential 100 game suspension in the wake of a MLB drug finding, Manny Ramirez has decided to hang up the doo rag and cleats and call it quits on a long, rollercoaster-like career. At this point, it is only appropriate to take a look at Manny for what Manny was.
Over the course of a career that has graced five franchises, Cleveland, Boston, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Tampa Bay, Ramirez has totaled an astounding 555 home runs. To put that into perspective, only 13 player in the history of the Majors have hit more dingers than Manny. His .312 career average ranks fourth amongst players with at least 500 home runs, only behind Jimmie Fox, Babe Ruth and Ted Williams. He is 18th all time in runs batted in, with everyone ahead of him either in the Hall, awaiting a first time ballot in to the Hall, or named Barry Bonds and Rafael Palmeiro.
In a perfect world in which players are judged solely based on numbers and achievements, Manny would be a sure-handed bet to receive a trip Cooperstown for all of the reasons listed above.
But we don’t live in a perfect world. We live in a world with cheaters and liars. Where people unfairly ingest drugs to get an edge over their competition. In this world, the real world, Manny is not a Hall of Famer. His ranks among the all-time greats will forever be marked by the cold, black asterisk of death. His accomplishments will only live in the shadows of the steroid era in which he played. In April of 2011, at the time of his abrupt and shocking retirement, Manny joined the company of Sosa, McGwire, Palmeiro, Clemens, and Bonds at the corner of disgrace and infamy. A group whose rise to greatness is only surpassed by their monumental fall into the depths of disgrace.
It is a shame it came down to this. Once a player met with jubilation and excitement, Ramirez is now just a footnote in the long 140 year history of baseball. As a person, Manny Ramirez will be remembered by many, but as a player, his numbers and accomplishments will be forgotten by all.