Left Field – Manny Ramirez
The enigmatic Manny Ramirez was an emotional roller coaster who walked the line between lovable goofball and moody malcontent. “Manny being Manny” could describe his best moments as well as his worst but at least Ramirez was never boring and always productive at the plate.
The Red Sox lured Ramirez to Boston with a massive free-agent contract in 2000. He was an All-Star in all eight seasons and finished in the top 10 on the MVP ballot in each of his first five seasons with the club.
Manny was one of the best right-handed hitters that I’ve ever seen. His knowledge of the zone was uncanny and nobody prepared harder. You wouldn’t know it from his personality but Ramirez was a highly intelligent hitter.
Ramirez could do it all at the plate. He hit for average, posting a .312 AVG with the Red Sox and winning a batting title by hitting .349 in 2002. He had prestigious power, hitting at least 33 home runs and topping 40 three times while driving in 100+ RBI every year during his first six seasons in Boston.
His defense was often a liability but Manny’s adventures in the outfield led to some of his most memorable moments – diving to cut off a throw that wasn’t meant for him, high-fiving a fan as he scaled the wall to make a catch, and turning the inside of the Green Monster into his own personal bathroom, to name a few.
Ramirez wore out his welcome in 2008, forcing a trade to the Dodgers. His tenure in Boston didn’t end well, but hey, that was Manny being Manny. We had to take the good with the bad.