Former Red Sox listed among ESPN’s top 100 MLB players of all time

Boston Red Sox David Ortiz (R) is congratulated his solo homer by teammate Manny Ramirez in the top of the first innings against Japan's Hanshin Tigers in an exhibition game in the Tokyo Dome on March 22, 2008.The Boston Red Sox managed a narrow 6-5 victory against Tigers in an exhibition game here, days ahead of the official season opening games against the Oakland Athletics. AFP PHOTO / KAZUHIRO NOGI (Photo credit should read KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP via Getty Images)
Boston Red Sox David Ortiz (R) is congratulated his solo homer by teammate Manny Ramirez in the top of the first innings against Japan's Hanshin Tigers in an exhibition game in the Tokyo Dome on March 22, 2008.The Boston Red Sox managed a narrow 6-5 victory against Tigers in an exhibition game here, days ahead of the official season opening games against the Oakland Athletics. AFP PHOTO / KAZUHIRO NOGI (Photo credit should read KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP via Getty Images) /
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red sox legend Manny Ramirez
BOSTON – OCTOBER 5: Manny Ramirez #24 of the Boston Red Sox celebrates after connecting for a three-run home run to defeat the Los Angeles Angels, 6-3, in Game 2 of the American League Division Series at Fenway Park October 5, 2007 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images) /

Red Sox outfielder Manny Ramirez – No. 68

The phrase “Manny being Manny” could have an entirely different tone depending on the mood of the mercurial outfielder but there’s no doubting that Manny Ramirez was one of the best right-handed hitters of his generation.

The 12-time All-Star earned nine Silver Sluggers and finished inside the top-10 on the MVP ballot nine times, including a pair of third-place finishes.

His questionable defense led to many adventures in the outfield, producing a fair amount of moments that swayed from head-scratching to amusing. Who could forget Manny making a diving effort to cut off a throw from center field that clearly wasn’t meant for him? Or the time he high-fived a fan in the stands after making a running catch at the wall.

Manny probably would have been a DH if that spot wasn’t already occupied during his tenure in Boston but it’s his bat that puts him on this list.

Ramirez hit .312/.411/.585 over 19 seasons. His 555 home runs are the 15th-most in MLB history. He also has the most postseason home runs in history with 29.

The Red Sox signed Ramirez to a massive free-agent contract in 2001 and he was an All-Star in every full season he spent with the club. He played a significant role in leading the Red Sox to two championships, earning World Series MVP honors in 2004.

Ramirez eventually wore out his welcome in Boston and was shipped to the Los Angeles Dodgers during the 2008 season. His legacy would be further tarnished by a pair of positive PED tests, the second of which led him to retire rather than sever another suspension.

Rooting for Manny could be an emotional rollercoaster but watching him swing the bat at the peak of his career was a privilege that we should cherish.