Ramirez, Manny

▪ 2009
Manuel Aristides Ramirez 
born May 30, 1972, Santo Domingo, Dom.Rep.

 Slugger Manny Ramirez, a 36-year-old outfielder, was the primary component in one of the most noteworthy trades during the 2008 Major League Baseball (MLB) season. Although batting .299 with a team-leading 20 home runs—including the 500th of his career—for the Boston Red Sox, he was sent to the Los Angeles Dodgers in a complex transaction that also involved Jason Bay of the Pittsburgh Pirates. The dreadlocked Ramirez, a somewhat controversial individual while starring in Boston, declared during the early summer that “the Red Sox don't deserve a player like me.” Management expressed dismay with his remark and paid the $7 million remaining on his contract to trade him to Los Angeles. He joined the Dodgers at the trading deadline, July 31, and quickly endeared himself to Los Angeles fans. He was also credited with bringing a looser attitude to his new team, which went from a 54–54 record when he arrived to 84–78 and the National League West Division title. In 53 games with the Dodgers—approximately a third of the regular-season schedule—Ramirez hit .396 with 17 home runs and 53 runs batted in (RBIs) and thereby supplied the team with some much-needed right-handed power. Although the Dodgers failed to make the World Series, in the team's eight play-off games, Ramirez batted .520, with 10 RBIs, 11 walks, and 4 home runs, bringing his career record of postseason homers to 28. He was due to become a free agent during the winter of 2008–09, which meant that the Dodgers would have to sign him to a new contract or risk losing him to another team.

      Ramirez left the Dominican Republic in 1985 for New York City's Bronx, where he graduated from George Washington High School in 1991. He was signed by the Cleveland Indians, and in his first professional season, he was voted Appalachian League Player of the Year while playing for Cleveland's Burlington, N.C., minor-league affiliate. Ramirez joined the Indians in 1993 and established himself as one of the most productive batters in either league. Although sidelined by a hamstring injury for part of the 2000 season, he amassed 38 home runs and 122 RBIs for the Indians in 118 games while compiling a .351 average. During that winter he signed with the Red Sox as a free agent.

      Ramirez built a solid résumé in Boston and was voted Most Valuable Player of the 2004 World Series, the first MLB title for the Red Sox since 1918. During that Series Ramirez had seven hits in 17 at bats, including a home run and four RBIs, for a .412 average during a four-game sweep of the St. Louis Cardinals. In 2007 Ramirez batted .296 during the regular season with 20 home runs and 88 RBIs, and the Red Sox went on to win another World Series, sweeping the Colorado Rockies in four games.

Robert Verdi

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Universalium. 2010.

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