Jayson Stark of ESPN wrote a brilliant column about Manny Ramirez's various exits from city to city. And while the ranks of Manny loyalists here in Boston have dramatically dwindled the past few years, there are still some out there who wish to praise this man.
It's true, the Sox won a pair of World Series thanks in no small part to him. That's two rings more than they'd won in the previous 8 decades. Then again, it was pitching that ultimately won those titles. Manny was indeed an irreplaceable part of those Championships, but not quite as irreplaceable as Derek Lowe in '04, or Josh Beckett in '07.
We didn't hear much about Manny's antics in LA, considering it was a few thousand miles, and a separate League away. But he pulled his same crap. He was always inexplicably hurting and couldn't play. He recently got kicked out of a game for arguing balls and strikes. Can you imagine that? Manny, while in a Red Sox uniform, was more docile at the plate than JD Drew. He'd only get kicked out if he wanted to, or if he didn't care if he did.
In Stark's column, he quotes an unnamed NL executive, who makes an exceedingly poignant point about Mr. Ramirez:
How could a true Hall of Famer be whisked out of town like this in two places? Not a lot of Hall of Famers get put on outright waivers -- just take the contract and he's yours -- two different times, the first time when he's still in his prime, right? You don't see that a whole lot.
Manny's career numbers are indeed astounding. 554 homers, 1,828 RBI so far. A career average of .313, with a .411 OBP and .589 SLG (that's an even 1.000 OPS, which is 9th all-time). Then there's 29 post-season HR in only 111 games, with 78 RBI. 12 time All-Star, 9 time Silver Slugger.
Manny Ramirez, despite that female fertility drug stuff, will likely make the Hall of Fame some day. But will he perhaps have an exit from Cooperstown as dramatic as his exits from Boston and Los Angeles? I wouldn't put it past him to harass some security guard, or maybe slap a fellow inductee during the speeches when he gets in.