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Manny and the Hall of Fame: Forget it, dude. But what of his legacy?

Apr 8, 2011, 5:48 PM EDT

Manny Ramirez Red Sox

Manny Ramirez has the statistical resume of a Hall of Famer. Now, in light of his second drug “issue” — which is being reported as a positive drug test — the viability of his candidacy is probably nil.  It may have been anyway given his 2009 PED suspension, but if there was any doubt about it, this has ended it.  Barring a sea change in the attitude of Hall of Fame voters — remember, these guys won’t vote for someone who they even suspect may have used PEDs –Ramirez will be a one-and-done candidate when his time comes up in a little over five years. Then he’ll be the Veterans’ Committee’s problem someday.

The real question about Manny Ramirez, then, is not whether he’s a Hall of Famer, but what his legacy as a player is beyond the yes/no world of Cooperstown politics.

His accomplishments are outstanding: 555 home runs. 1831 RBI. 2574 hits. A career line of .312/.411/.585. A .937 career postseason OPS and two World Series rings, one of which came with the 2004 Red Sox which, some argue, counts for more than your typical playoff jewelry given the historic nature of it all.

But he is also now and will forever be tainted by his PED suspension and this final, retirement-inducing “issue.”  He was a player of undeniable talent but one who, more than any other Hall of Fame-level performer, had his career correspond with the heightened offensive environment of what is now known as the PED era. He broke in as things went a bit nutty in 1993 and his time as an elite player ended almost exactly when he got caught by baseball’s drug testing program in 2009.

Manny Ramirez will almost certainly be characterized, at least in the short term, as a creation of PEDs.  This conclusion likely won’t explain how he was able to play at an elite level for four years after PED testing came online, and it will overlook the fact that, if his skills were purely the stuff of chemicals, few if any other players were able to do what he did.  I mean really, if one could take drugs to become a baseball player like Manny Ramirez, wouldn’t you expect to see more Manny Ramirezes around?

Time will help us sort that out, one way or the other. Time and perspective. We’ll have a better sense of what to make of Manny Ramirez some day. We have to.  Because God knows we’ve never had a good idea of what to make of him these past 18 years.

  1. kolfax - Apr 8, 2011 at 5:49 PM

    Who said Manny wouldn’t hit 600 homeruns?

    • florida727 - Apr 9, 2011 at 1:42 AM

      Probably the easiest question HBT has ever asked. “What’s Manny’s legacy?” Simple. CHEATER.

  2. aronmantoo - Apr 8, 2011 at 5:51 PM

    I hope none of the cheaters get into the hall

    • uuddlrlrbastart - Apr 8, 2011 at 5:55 PM

      What about the ones already in the Hall?

    • The Baseball Idiot - Apr 8, 2011 at 5:57 PM

      Yeah, because a pill, or shot, or whatever,helped them hit a breaking pitch, or any pitch, over 400 feet.

      Try playing the game first and see how hard it is, and then make a comment. Until you do, you’re just some jerk shooting his mouth off about something he can’t understand.

      • bobulated - Apr 8, 2011 at 6:21 PM

        I played baseball in college and then into my 30s in leagues with and against many ex-college and minor league players. While it’s true that PED’s don’t help you hit the ball, the extra strength and stamina does help you hit it farther and speed up your bat to get around on the pitches that would have jammed you if you were not using. That ball just reached the warning track before now goes out, your 90mph fastball is now 94 and you can pitch 3 out of 4 days instead of every other day; PEDs don’t make someone capable of playing but they do make the guys who can play the game at a high level stronger. Bat speed goes away with age; it’s no mystery why we aren’t seeing guys in their late 30s have seasons like we were seeing in the 90s and early 21st century now that there is testing.

      • iamnotacoolguy - Apr 8, 2011 at 6:42 PM

        I agree with the sentiment here. Once again, PEDs do NOT help with hand eye coordination. You can either hit or you can’s. Also, what all the soap box “steroids are evil” evangelists seem to forget, is that for every hitter that was juicing an equal number of pitchers were as well.

      • henryd3rd - Apr 9, 2011 at 8:00 AM

        Sounds like a diehard Sox fan

    • scatterbrian - Apr 8, 2011 at 6:34 PM

      Too late

    • Chipmaker - Apr 9, 2011 at 12:47 AM

      Too late for that.

  3. Soapy Johnson - Apr 8, 2011 at 6:00 PM

    Another great player taken down by the evil flax seed oil …

  4. greggatx - Apr 8, 2011 at 6:06 PM

    HOF is nothing but a popularity contest. You can not take his numbers and greatness away. There are many players who don’t really belong in the hall and many other that should be there at are not.

    • rapmusicmademedoit - Apr 8, 2011 at 8:08 PM

      True, Jack Morris still can’t get in.

      • paperlions - Apr 8, 2011 at 8:12 PM

        Considering the standards set for starting pitchers, Morris has no business being even seriously considered.

  5. SmackSaw - Apr 8, 2011 at 6:08 PM

    Legalize it! Baseball players have been on PED’s since the ’50’s. What do you think ‘greenies’ ‘Atomic Balm’ and DMSO are?

    Pleeze, everybody is sooo sanctimonious when it comes to steroids.

    “I don’t care if it’s horse-piss,It works.”- JFK

    • yankeesgameday - Apr 8, 2011 at 6:25 PM

      Well, according to Jeff Kent Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig were juiced as well, so how far back do we go? Should we expunge all the record post World War 1?

      • SmackSaw - Apr 8, 2011 at 6:52 PM

        Nope, don’t change anything. Barry Bonds is the greatest hitter that has ever lived.

  6. Mark Armour - Apr 8, 2011 at 6:29 PM

    Manny played baseball at a time when most observers, even analysts, valued players completely on their ability to hit. It will be interesting to see how this plays out in history. The “stars” of this era were a bunch of guys who hit 500 home runs and could not run or field worth a damn.

    I liked Manny–he was fun and made me happy often. His brand of baseball? Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

  7. jamie54 - Apr 8, 2011 at 6:36 PM

    After over $200M in career earnings do you think he really cares about the HOF? I mean, really?

    • baseballisboring - Apr 8, 2011 at 9:32 PM

      That’s a good point too…something that most people don’t consider too much, I feel like. Does *he* even care? I think the fans and writers make more of it than the players do…sure, it’s a great honor, but it just amounts to a plaque on a wall in New York. I mean, people are gonna remember Manny anyway, right?

  8. mdpickles - Apr 8, 2011 at 6:49 PM

    “two World Series rings, one of which came with the 2004 Red Sox which, some argue, counts for more than your typical playoff jewelry given the historic nature of it all.”

    ^^Am I the only one who thinks “the historic nature of it all” has been diminished? Ortiz, Ramirez, and I’m sure Trot Nixon and Gabe Gabler too. Team full of cheaters. The 2004 Red Sox are the new ’19 Black Sox.

    • frogpissyanks - Apr 8, 2011 at 7:31 PM

      First of all, who on that team cheated? Be specific, not just names but what they’re guilty of and cite it. Second, I’ll slice whoever from neck to colon and pull all their stuff out if I ever hear anything like that in public, so be warned, and tell your friends. Third, yes, you are the only one who equates the one team that you hate to the black sox, who, if you were an ACTUAL historian of the game would know only a small number of them threw the games and they are unfairly marginalized. You’re the typical sour grapes yankee/rays/pittsburgh fan that can’t come to terms with the fact that New Englanders are just better fans in every sense of the word, no matter the sport.

      • wurst2first - Apr 8, 2011 at 7:58 PM

        “I’ll slice whoever from neck to colon and pull all their stuff out if I ever hear anything like that in public, so be warned, and tell your friends.”

        Woah, I didn’t realize the Internet Tough Guy Convention was in town this weekend. Better avoid downtown, the traffic near the convention center is gonna be nuts.

      • georgeanderson2 - Apr 8, 2011 at 8:05 PM

        Strip the red sox of their now tainted WS rings…
        Way to look the other way as your star pumped himself with illegal drugs, according to major league rules.
        Guess cheating is contagious in Beantown… passionte fans, of course. Fans wearing blinders, yes.

      • kmgannon - Apr 8, 2011 at 8:42 PM

        ‘Roid Rage?

      • mrznyc - Apr 8, 2011 at 8:59 PM

        Saw a drunk, obnoxious Sox fan vomit on the woman in front of him at the 86 World Series in NYC – Got the snot beat out of him – That the New England fan you’re talking about?

      • roverboy1949 - Apr 9, 2011 at 11:40 AM

        to georgeanderson2 – I guess the NY fan would also want to strip the Yankees of their rings with A-ROID on the team. Those days are over. Why can’t we move on with the game being played cleaner(hopefully) by players that care more for the game than their stats. I feel sorry for fans that have to always look at the problems of the past, instead of the promise of the future. Play Ball !!!

      • georgeanderson2 - Apr 10, 2011 at 11:58 AM

        rover- I am fine with taking away all these teams titles, who put guys out on the field who broke the rules, according to MLB. The teams should be fined huge amounts for using illegal players. While nothing will ever happen, the fans are the ones being cheated. MLB just rakes in the money even if teams are breaking the rules. Nothing has been done to these teams who used cheating players.

    • ocgunslinger - Apr 9, 2011 at 7:01 PM

      The guy had great natural talent, made fabulous contract money ( much of it still deferred to future years). consequently was not a dedicated team player and for whatever reason, turned to PED support. He does not care about the HOF or anything other than his egotistical self. I grant you he was entertaining but he has taken more from the game than he ever gave back.

  9. baseballisboring - Apr 8, 2011 at 7:16 PM

    Keith Law said once: “That swing didn’t come out of a bottle.”

    If I were a HOF voter, I’d be voting for him, controversy, steroids and all. His legacy is definitely tainted by these issues, though…but they’ll never be enough to completely obscure the type of hitter he was. I think he’ll be remembered for a real long time, HOF or not.

  10. rapmusicmademedoit - Apr 8, 2011 at 8:04 PM

    Maybe he was smokin some kush during the offseason, good gosh by gosh give Manny a break, I like to thank Manny for all the wonderful memories and the laughs, he was a pleasure to watch, I loved the Cadillac and the way he threw the bat, with the smile, the tobacco spit as he cruised around the bases, this is the memory I have of him.I remember when he called out to Roger, watch that shite man, you want some.I always regret that George never made a play for him to get him in Yankee stadium, Washington Heights kid coming home, but manny was too craZy. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh Manny, thanks for the memories my friend, I will always smile when I think of you with my friend!!

  11. jsarge99 - Apr 8, 2011 at 8:12 PM

    I can’t believe anyone still thinks that steroids don’t help. C’mon man! Strength has a ton to do with hitting a ball out of the park, if not why would anybody work out? Working out is hard. And when it comes to strength, Steroids are the shit. They take muscles to a whole nother level. Steroids turn average players into good players, good players into all stars, and all stars into hall of famers.

    • kmgannon - Apr 8, 2011 at 8:43 PM

      Agreed. Bret Boone and Brady Anderson cashed in from “better living with chemistry.”

  12. shlomo1977 - Apr 8, 2011 at 8:43 PM

    He definitely was one of the greatest hitters of the steroid era with numbers to show. No way he ever gets into The Hall. But so what? His legacy will be one of the best hitters of his generation and part of several great teams in Boston.

  13. deathmonkey41 - Apr 8, 2011 at 9:30 PM

    Once again- if ped’s didn’t help players- they wouldn’t bother taking them. Why would you risk getting suspended and being excluded from the HoF for something that gives you no edge. Now, it’s just a matter of time until his bash buddy in Boston- Big Papi- gets caught cheating again too. Without steroids- the Red Sox don’t win two World Series.

    • wurst2first - Apr 9, 2011 at 9:30 PM

      “if ped’s [sic] didn’t help players – they wouldn’t bother taking them.”

      Bullshit. Players wear those “magnet bracelets” and similar nonsense, and those certainly don’t help. Ballplayers are, by and large, morons. They’ll do whatever they THINK will help, regardless of whether it will or not. And the evidence on whether or not steroids will help you play baseball is suspect.

  14. rossesmithii - Apr 8, 2011 at 10:41 PM

    Hey it’s nice to see Craig Calcaterra use the Barry Bonds reasoning, How guys have hit 72 in one year and 783? for a lifetime with out without help? none but 1.

  15. prionogenic - Apr 8, 2011 at 11:53 PM

    Quote: “I mean really, if one could take drugs to become a baseball player like Manny Ramirez, wouldn’t you expect to see more Manny Ramirezes around?”

    A few instances that come to mind,

    Brady Anderson in 1996 – .297/.396/.637 50HR
    Adrian Beltre in 2004 – .334/.388/.629 48HR
    Luis Gonzales in 2001 .325/.429/.688 57HR

    Several above-average players that played ball-out for a single season, with OPS more than a hundred points higher than any season before or after. I’m not saying Manny isn’t talented, but I think that if he was on PED the entire time, then maybe he was an above-average player and not a HoF-calibur player

  16. Elwood Larf - Apr 8, 2011 at 11:56 PM

    A spoiled waste who could have been a hall of famer on his own, without PEDs. A guy who got by on talent alone and played the game in a lazy way that often negated all he had to offer with his unrefined ability. So long, Manny. Don’t let the door hit you on your way out.

  17. baseballstars - Apr 9, 2011 at 2:45 AM

    Does anyone else remember him completely tanking during the 2007 season, to the point where he forced Boston’s hand into trading him? I don’t think HOF voters would have looked too kindly on that, but this second test was the nail in the coffin. No HOF for a long, long time. Hell, McGwire had a good attitude and never sandbagged, and he can’t even get in.

  18. roverboy1949 - Apr 9, 2011 at 9:22 AM

    Good-bye Manny. Thanks for the memories. Yoe were probably “using” when you in Boston, as I’m sure a lot of players from a lot of teams were. It gives the era a stain that will never be cleaned, but it made for exciting “basesball”. I’m not going to judge you. There are plenty here that will do that. Sorry you had to go out this way. You did make the game more interesting.

  19. mrznyc - Apr 9, 2011 at 10:09 AM

    By the All-Star break no one’s even talking about Manny. By next year? A distant memory at best. In Boston drunks in bars remembering the World Series will mention Manny, but who outside Boston is going to spend any time fondly remembering Manny? Already off the radar in Cleveland and merely a blip in LA. In the future when and if people remember Manny it will be for being dumb, “Manny being Manny.”

  20. dondiego27 - Apr 9, 2011 at 11:17 AM

    Another candidate for The Steroid Hall of Shame!

  21. henryd3rd - Apr 9, 2011 at 11:48 AM

    No matter what folks may feel or say that dude could hit. And this coming from a Yankee fan. I hated seeing him come up in critical situations; because he seemed to always rise to the occasions. I only wish he would have left the stage after last season so that this weekend’s game in Boston were not over shadowed by this controversy. I can’t wait to hear Tim McCarver and Joe Buck’s comments today on Fox’s Game of the week.

  22. henryd3rd - Apr 9, 2011 at 12:26 PM

    To paraphrase Tom Verducci of the four letter network, ” Drug testing in MLB” is not a really a drug test; but and IQ test”. It’s obvious that Manny IQ is that of a spoiled 10 year old who is used to getting his own way. Rather then face the music he quit and is off to Spain with his father. Where I come from we would say he had “no balls”. Where he come from they would say he had lack of cojones.

  23. jasonburg - Apr 9, 2011 at 12:37 PM

    “Legacy”?? You think Manny Ramirez rates a legacy? HAHAHAHAHAHAHA

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