Manny Ramirez's tenure in Tampa Bay this season wasn't exactly the most illustrious portion of his career — he only played in five games before retiring. But throughout his 19 seasons in the majors, Manny became one of the game's most feared hitters — despite the random antics, confrontations and quotes that sometimes overshadowed his play on the field.
Ramirez blasted 555 home runs in his career. Choosing a favorite is a difficult task, especially when you consider the importance of some of them.
In 2001, at the age of 29, Ramirez began his Red Sox career with a bang. He lifted the first pitch he saw in a Sox uniform at Fenway Park over the Green Monster. It was the first of his 274 regular-season home runs in a Boston uniform.
Later that year, Ramirez hit a bomb into the fifth deck at Rogers Centre in Toronto off Chris Carpenter, who would go on to win a Cy Young Award with the Cardinals four years later. At the time, it was the eighth ball to reach that level. The home run was, at first, believed to have traveled 491 feet, although ESPN's Home Run Tracker suggests otherwise. Regardless, it was high and it was far.
Ramirez hit his first postseason home run with the Red Sox in 2003, and it was an extremely important moment in the team's postseason run that year. With the score tied in the sixth inning of a decisive Game 5 of the American League Division Series, Ramirez hit a three-run shot to give the Sox a 4-1 lead and propel them to a win — which sent the Sox to the American League Championship Series to face the Yankees.
The Sox suffered heartbreak that season at the hands of the Yanks before finally getting over the hump in 2004. Ramirez was named the World Series MVP in 2004 for hitting .412 during the series. He also had a big home run, which came in Game 3 off former Red Sox right-hander Jeff Suppan.
In the first inning of that game, with the Sox already up 2-0 in the series, Ramirez blasted a home run into the seats in left, keeping the team's momentum going. Of course, the Sox went on to sweep the Cardinals and win their first World Series title since 1918.
Three years later, the Sox were back in the World Series. But in order to get there, Ramirez had to again provide some magic. With the score tied 3-3 in the bottom of the ninth of Game 2 of the ALDS, Ramirez hit a two-out, game-winning home run to give the Sox a commanding 2-0 lead in the series.
The Red Sox traded Ramirez the next season, but it wasn't before the slugging outfielder hit historic home run No. 500 nearly two months prior. He drilled a Chad Bradford offering into the seats in right-center at Camden Yards.
What is your fondest Manny Ramirez home run moment? Share your thoughts below.
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