Going strictly by the numbers, Manny Ramirez should be able to coast into the Hall of Fame. The former Red Sox left fielder was a career .312/.411/.585 hitter who ranks 15th on the all-time home runs list with 555.
Ramirez made 12 All-Star appearances, including all eight seasons that he played in Boston. He never won an MVP Award, but he finished in the top 10 nine times in his career, including two seasons that he finished as high as third.
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He was also a postseason hero, winning a pair of championship rings with the Red Sox and earning the World Series MVP in 2004. Manny has more playoff home runs than anyone in major league history (29), while ranking second with 78 RBI and third with 117 hits.
That certainly seems like the resume of a sure-fire Hall of Famer, but with Manny it’s never that simple. His legacy has been tainted by two failed tests for performance enhancing drugs. There are some players on the ballot that haven’t been voted in based on mere suspicion of alleged PED use, but with Ramirez there is no grey area given than he served a pair of suspensions after getting caught.
The affable Ramirez had a mixed relationship with fans and the media. For the most part we were willing to put up with his goofy antics and indifference to playing defense because of the staggering numbers he put up at the plate, but eventually the “Manny being Manny” routine wears thin. You have to wonder if some voters may hold that against him even if they are able to overlook the steroid issue.
Regardless of his connection to PEDs, I believe Ramirez deserves to be in Cooperstown, but he’s unlikely to be a first ballot Hall of Famer.