Inside MLB | The Daily recaps the best of ‘Manny being Manny’
Published: Friday, April 15, 2011
Updated: Friday, April 15, 2011 07:04
In the wake of Manny Ramirez's retirement, announced last Friday, the Daily counts down the top 10 moments of his career.
10. The phrase is born: In 1995, while in his first full season with the Cleveland Indians, the Indians' manager, Mike Hargrove, reported that Ramirez absent-mindedly left his hefty MLB paycheck in a pair of boots in the visitor's clubhouse after a game. Hargrove proclaimed it a standard example of "Manny being Manny," thus birthing what became a legendary Major League Baseball saying.
9. Manny gets political: In 2007, Ramirez skipped the White House ceremony commemorating the team's World Series championship that season. Manny, not known for being a politically conscious ballplayer, simply claimed he had better things to do that day, prompting then-President Bush to quip that, "Manny Ramirez isn't here. I guess his grandmother died again," in reference to Ramirez's oft-employed excuse for evading undesirable events (like the beginning of Spring Training).
8. Manny retires under a cloud of suspicion: Ramirez on April 8 announced his retirement from Major League Baseball under threat of a 100-game suspension for failing the league's drug testing program for a second time. While few would question Ramirez's almost unparalleled natural baseball talent, the charges related to the possible use of performance-enhancing drugs have stained an otherwise hall-of-fame-worthy career in which the right-handed slugger amassed 555 home runs and 2,574 hits.
7. Manny hits RBI No. 165: Ramirez enjoyed perhaps the finest season of his illustrious career in 1999 with the Cleveland Indians, when he knocked in an astounding 165 runs during the team's ultimately pennant-winning campaign. Ramirez's 165 RBI marked the highest total by an MLB player since Jimmie Foxx in 1938 and the 14th-highest single-season total in history.
6. Manny sacrifices his bling: During a 2002 rehab stint with the Red Sox's Triple-A affiliate based in Pawtucket, R.I., Ramirez lost a $15,000 earring while sliding into third base to beat an oncoming throw, a rare example of Ramirez exhibiting hustle on the baseball field. Manny had the stadium's grounds crew scour the dirt after the game for his lost jewelry, but to no avail.
5. God Bless America: Ramirez was out of the lineup for his first game of the season with the Boston Red Sox in 2004, though he had a pretty legitimate excuse: The star outfielder was in Miami becoming an American citizen. The day after, he celebrated by running out to left field carrying a small American flag, firmly planting the stars and stripes in front of the Green Monster at Fenway Park. He received a standing ovation when he came to bat in the second inning as the speakers blared Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the USA."
4. Walking off with Manny: With the game tied in the bottom of the ninth, two outs, runners on first and second and a 1-0 count against Angels closer Francisco Rodriguez, Ramirez smashed a bomb that cleared the Green Monster in left, giving the Red Sox a 6-3 walk-off win in Game 2 of the 2007 ALDS. Ramirez finished that postseason with a .348 average, four home runs and 16 RBIs, leading Boston to its second world championship in four years.
3. Manny cuts off the cut-off man: When Orioles outfielder David Newhan sent a fly ball deep to centerfield, it seemed like a routine double or triple. But as Damon picked the ball up and flung it back toward infielder Mark Bellhorn, Manny decided to take matters into his own hands. He dove to cut off the throw from Damon, and by the time the ball reached Bellhorn, Newhan had crossed the plate with the most Manny-acal inside-the-park home run in baseball history.
2. High fives for all the guys: Most players get their fan interaction out of the way during batting practice — but Manny Ramirez is not most players. When former teammate Kevin Millar drove a ball to the track in left field, the runner on first base, Aubrey Huff, took off assuming Manny couldn't reach it. But Manny did reach it. He caught the ball, leaped toward the stands, high-fived a fan to stop his momentum, turned around and threw the ball to cutoff man Dustin Pedroia, who relayed it to first and doubled-off Huff.
1. Getting pissed off: When nature called, Manny answered — in the middle of a game on July 18, 2005. With Red Sox pitcher Wade Miller about to deliver to Joey Gathright, Ramirez finally emerged from the Green Monster just in time after a mid-inning bathroom break. Luckily for him, Gathright did not swing, though on the next pitch he singled to left. There is no bathroom inside the left-field wall; Ramirez claimed he peed into a cup.