Red Sox: Top-5 left fielders in franchise history
By Sean Penney
Manny Ramirez will be remembered for a lot of things in Boston, much of which revolves around his goofy antics and head-scratching decision making. It’s all part of the “Manny being Manny” package, which for better or worse will be a part of his legacy. What we can’t forget is that for nearly eight seasons with the Red Sox, Ramirez had the best right-handed swing in baseball.
Ramirez was an All-Star in every season that he spent in Boston and finished within the top 10 on the MVP ballot in each of his first five seasons with the franchise. He mashed at least 33 home runs per year through his first six seasons with the Red Sox, topping 40 three times.
He won a batting title by hitting .349 in 2002 and a home run title two years later when he knocked 43 out of the park, while also leading the league with a .613 SLG and 1.009 OPS.
Perhaps his greatest accomplishment was his contributions to the 2004 championship team that ended an 86 year title drought for the franchise. Ramirez earned World Series MVP honors by hitting .412 with a 1.088 OPS in the four game sweep over the St. Louis Cardinals. He was also a vital part of the lineup in Boston’s 2007 title season. Ramirez will go down as one of the best postseason hitters ever, ranking at or near the top of a number of significant categories, with much of that damage coming during his time in Boston.
As much as he accomplished with the Red Sox, his stay in Boston would meet a bitter end in 2008. Ramirez’s attitude soured to the point that many believed he quit on his team. He butted heads with teammates and even scuffled with a team employee, stamping his ticket out of town.
A pair of suspensions for testing positive for PEDs further tainted his legacy after he left Boston, ultimately ending his MLB career. The scandalous ending to an outstanding career may cost him his chance to be enshrined in the Hall of Fame, despite putting up numbers that are clearly worthy.
Red Sox Nation witnessed the best and worst of Manny’s roller coaster career. There was never a dull moment with the enigmatic superstar, but the good outweighs the bad and there’s no doubt that his production places him among the top hitters in franchise history.