It was an otherwise forgettable game on May 31, 2008, as the Red Sox came back from a 2-0 deficit to beat the Orioles in Baltimore, but it was significant for the milestone that Manny reached in the seventh inning. With two runners on in a one-run game, the Orioles went to reliever Chad Bradford, a former Red Sox pitcher with an unorthodox delivery. Manny didn't wait around, sending Bradford's first offering deep into the Baltimore sky, depositing the pitch into the right-center field bleachers.
Though it was a road game, the crowd was largely made up of Red Sox fans, who were sent into brief pandemonium.
"That's why they call it the Red Sox Nation," Ramirez told reporters after the game. "They follow us everywhere. Everywhere we go, we get big support. I'm just happy it's over with and I'm proud to do it here."
In hitting No. 500, Ramirez joined an exclusive club, becoming just the 24th player in history to do so (though Ramirez's friend, Alex Rodriguez, would launch No. 500 just a couple of months later). It was even more significant, though, because it was his last great moment in a Red Sox uniform.
After the game, Manny shared a rare sentimental moment with the media.
"I'm happy, you know, about everything I accomplished in life," he said. "Not everybody has the chance to go and get to 500. I'm just proud to do it."
The side of the story that got less attention was what Ramirez hoped to do with the baseball.
"I don't want to keep the ball. I want to see how much money I can get for the hospital [to which] I'm donating $1,000 for [every] home run," said Ramirez, who took major flak in the media for his lack of charitable contributions but never took the time to defend himself. "That's what I want to do."
Throughout his tenure in Boston, there were countless ups and downs. However, on that night in Baltimore, nothing else really mattered. There was Manny, hugging Mike Lowell at the plate, jumping up and down in celebration with David Ortiz and Julio Lugo, celebrating one of the greatest accomplishments of his Hall of Fame career.
It was the 264th home run that Ramirez launched while wearing No. 24 for Boston. Little did anyone know that he would hit just 10 more.
Each day leading up to Manny's return to Boston on June 18,
NESN.com will run through one highlight and one lowlight from his career
with the Red Sox.
4. Manny hits No. 500
Wednesday, June 16: Manny catches high-five in Baltimore