He may have tested positive for performance-enchaning drugs twice. He may have allegedly taken steroids in 2003. He may not have been a hustler on the field, jogging out ground balls and lazily approaching fly balls in the outfield. He may have been a cancer around the trade deadline, requesting to leave the team numerous times.
But despite all the headaches and controversies, Manny Ramirez still deserves to be in the Hall of Fame.
Role model or not, Ramirez is still one of the greatest right-handed hitters of all time. His numbers prove that.
He ranks 14th all-time on baseball's home run list with 555 dingers, ahead of Mickey Mantle and Jimmie Foxx. He ranks 18th on the RBI list with 1,831, ahead of Frank Robinson and Reggie Jackson. His .312 career batting average also beats Jackie Robinson, Hank Aaron and all-time hits leader Pete Rose. He ranks second with 21 career grand slams, trailing only Lou Gehrig by two. However, none of those are even his most impressive statistic. Ramirez rank s ninth all-time with a .996 OPS, ahead of Ty Cobb and Willie Mays.
Ramirez may not be the best hitter of all time, but his statistics compare with the greatest to ever play the game.
10 times in his career, Ramirez had seasons with at least a .300 batting average, 30 home runs and 100 RBIs in a regular season. His single-season bests include a .351 batting average in 2000, 45 home runs in both 1998 and 2005, 165 RBIs in 1999 and .697 slugging percentage in 2000.
Ramirez won the Silver Slugger award nine times, and the Hank Aaron Award for best hitter in the American League twice. Shockingly, he never won a regular-season MVP, but more importantly, he won a World Series MVP, and earned two rings.
Ramirez was spectacular in the postseason. He ranks third with 67 runs scored, third with 117 hits, second with 223 total bases, first with 29 home runs and first with 72 walks. In 2007 with the world champion Red Sox, he had a .348 batting average, four home runs, 16 RBIs and an absurd 1.160 OPS.
Jim Thome, another great hitter who's approaching 600 home runs this season, can also vouch for Ramirez's talents and success.
"He's probably the best right-handed hitter I've seen," Thome said of his former teammate. "Manny always has had a tremendous work ethic. People never saw the extra work he would put in. It was pretty impressive."
So Ramirez wasn't the best player off the field. So he once attacked Red Sox front office employee Jack McCormick for not getting 16 tickets to a game. So he fought Kevin Youkilis in the dugout, had many little "injuries" and went into the Green Monster a few times.
But the good far outweighs the bad.
Manny Ramirez was a mentor to young hitters. He always was willing to help improve other teammates. Current Yankee and former Dodger teammate Russell Martin credits Ramirez for some of his success. Martin says Ramirez showed him how to prepare for a game and how to enjoy playing it. Ramirez even inspired his own fan section in Los Angeles called "Mannywood."
Ramirez made some mistakes. He was a headache for every organization he played for – both on and off the field. But he was just "Manny Being Manny." His statistics rank among the all-time greatest players, and he deserves a place in Cooperstown.
Do you think Manny Ramirez belongs in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Share your thoughts below.
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