Three years after trading for Pedro Martinez, Boston was looking to build off of an 85-win 2000 season. According to Pedro’s book, Pedro, Manny Ramirez told Martinez he wanted to play in Boston next year. Pedro was shocked, but knew he had to make it happen.
Ramirez signed with the Red Sox in December of 2000 for $160 million over eight years. He became baseball’s second $20 million player. Sox fans could never have foreseen what would transpire over the next seven years, but Ramirez’s signing after a mediocre season was the beginning of a new era of Boston baseball.
Ramirez was a prolific power from 1998-2008. In that run, he rewrote the history of the Boston Red Sox with David Ortiz and company. His eleven-year prime saw eight consecutive top ten MVP finishes. In his eight years with the Red Sox, Manny added six consecutive Silver Slugger awards to his trophy case in addition to being voted an All-Star every season. Manny and Papi became one of the best dynamic duos of all time. Plus, he gifted us with an iconic photo.
Manny earned 93 Hall of Fame votes in his second year on the ballot, good for 22 percent of the vote. Although his time with the Red Sox came to somewhat of a bitter end and his character was beyond erratic, he cracked off one of the best eleven-year runs the game has ever seen. It was all Manny being Manny, and as fans, we can either look back and embrace or reject it. I choose to embrace it all, especially the two championships. He deserves a spot in Cooperstown.