TAMPA — He may not have ever been a Twin, but he was a big part of the AL Central and the American League as a whole.
Major League Baseball made the announcement today.
The move isn’t all that surprising considering his age and his recent lack of productivity, but it’s still sad to see a character like Manny go.
Manny had 546 career homers and 12 All-Star appearances.
The move for Manny to retire may be motivated by him being contacted by MLB about a possible drug conduct violation. If Ramirez violated the policy, it would be the second time he has done so.
Whether or not that had anything to do with Ramirez retiring will be determined in the coming days, but as we all know, Manny isn’t going to do something he doesn’t want to and serving out another suspension is on his list of things he’s not interested in doing.
After being drafted 13th overall in 1991 by the Cleveland Indians, Ramirez made his major league debut on September 2, 1993 against the Minnesota Twins going 3-4. He played with the Indians until 2000, hitting 236 home runs and 804 RBI in 967 games with Cleveland. He won the Rookie of the Year award and the Silver Slugger award during his time with the Indians.
It wasn’t until 2000 when Manny became a household name when he signed a 8-year, $160 million contract with the Boston Red Sox. He immediately hit .408 in April for the Sox and was a contributor to their World Series Championship run.
His biggest year as a Red Sox came in 2004 when Manny hit .30843 home runs and 130 RBI. It’s also when Manny started being Manny.
He is as famous for skipping out on Spring Training and All-Star games as he is for pounding the ball. Late in his career he was criticized for not giving 100% and only playing half the game mentally.
The Red Sox shipped Manny out to LA in a trade during the 2008 season. Manny attempted to revive his career, but a contract dispute over the 2009 offseason and a failed steroid drug test led to a suspension for Manny and the Dodgers dumping him off on the White Sox in the middle of the 2010 season.
Manny was ineffective as a member of the White Sox and was let go at the end of the 2010 season. It took him until nearly the start of Spring Training to sign with the Tampa Bay Rays, and only a week of games in the 2011 season before Manny finally called it a career.
He has had a very slow start with the hard luck Rays so far, being virtually invisible, as has his former Boston teammate Johnny Damon.
Regardless of the reasons why, Manny Ramirez retiring is the end of an era in baseball.
And that era is the era of Manny.