Red Sox OF: Manny Ramirez
Career Stats: .312/.411/.585 ,154 OPS+, 2574 H, 555 HR, 1831 RBI, 69.3 WAR
Year on Ballot: 6th
Current Percentage: 40.4%
The pros and cons of Manny Ramirez’s candidacy are pretty cut and dry. Whatever you feel about him and his antics, there is no denying he is one of the greatest right-handed batters of the last 50 years. He was first and foremost a gifted pure hitter, finishing in the top ten on average seven times and total bases nine times. He hit for tremendous power as well, hitting more than 40 home runs five times and over 30 home runs twelve times.
Ramirez supplemented his hitting ability with an all-time great eye. He finished in the top ten in walks six times and led the league in on-base percentage. Manny’s raw hitting ability led to 12 All-Star teams and eight straight years in the top 10 in MVP voting. Any way you slice it, Ramirez was among the best hitters of the generation.
There’s a reason, however, Ramirez is still on the ballot. As good as Manny was at the plate, he might have been just as bad on the field and on the bases. Over his career, he cost his team 35 runs on the bases and 276 runs in the field. That put a severe dent in his WAR slash line, although he is still at or around the left-field standard at each of the three WAR categories.
Yet these flaws pale in comparison to his off-field issues. His Red Sox tenure ended abruptly after he pushed 64-year-old traveling secretary Jack Mccormick to the ground after Mccormick failed to provide enough tickets. In 2011, he was arrested for domestic assault after reportedly slapping his wife.
Ramirez is also one of the faces of the MLB steroid problem, as he was suspended twice for performance-enhancing drugs, the latter one ending his career. For many Hall of Fame voters, these off-the-field controversies overshadow what a great player he was on it.
Though he debuted at a solid 23.8%, Ramirez’s vote total has increased just 5% over the last four years even as the ballot has cleared up. It’s clear that the voters who are against Ramirez’s candidacy aren’t changing their minds anytime soon.
The only thing that might be able to affect Ramirez’s fate is if fellow PED-suspendee Alex Rodriguez gets elected before Ramirez, but with just four years of eligibility remaining, it’s doubtful that Ramirez has enough time to make up the ground.
Vote Prediction: 25.4%