Manny Ramirez retired from baseball today, after struggling for the first week of the season with the Tampa Bay Rays. Reports are saying that Ramirez possibly failed a drug test and is retiring to avoid suspension, but fans shouldn’t let these last few years take away from the greatness that was Manny Ramirez. No matter how many other teams he played for, to me and many other Indian fans, he will always be an Indian first. This is as good of time as any to reflect on Super Manny’s career with the Indians.
Manny’s first season with the Indians was in 1993, right at the start of Cleveland’s resurgence as a powerful presence in the American League. His first full season with the Tribe was in 1994, where he quickly cemented himself right in the middle of an already potent lineup that included Jim Thome and Albert Belle as established power hitters.
That year he was second in voting for the Rookie of the Year and, although he did not win, he did go on to have a very successful career with the Indians. Ramirez went to 4 all-star games and won three Silver Sluggers while playing right-field for the Tribe. He also placed in the top ten in MVP voting three times, once as high as third, during his best season as an Indian in 1999. That season Manny hit 165 RBI, the best in the Majors.
Over his career with the Indians, Ramirez knocked in 804 runs in 8 seasons, good for 8th all time on the team. Manny is also in the top 5 in home runs, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, OPS and isolated power. His career SLG% of .592 and OPS of .999 are both the highest for any Indian in the team’s 110 year history.
It is questionable now whether Manny will make it into the Hall of Fame, even though his numbers are good enough, because of his behavior on and off the field along with his failing of multiple drug tests. Even if he does make it in, it will probably be as a Red Sox player, since he won two World Series with Boston, in 2004 and 2007. Indians fans will still always remember him for the two World Series he helped get the Tribe to, as well as for being the kooky right-fielder who just happened to be one of the greatest power hitters in the history of the Cleveland Indians.
The photo included is an analysis of Manny Ramirez’s career, using my ability rating system. There is one shape for every season he played for the Indians, from 1993 to 2000. The hexagon on top shows what a perfect player would look like. For more information on my ability rating system, check out the 2011 Pitcher Ability Ratings here.