Sunday, April 10, 2011
Champion Tampa Bay Rays baseball player Manny Ramirez, 38, notified the MLB on Friday that he would retire after being notified that he had tested positive for a banned perforance-enhancing drug. It was his second offense and he was facing a 100-game suspension. In 2009 as a Los Angeles Dodger, he served a 50-game suspension for violating the MLB’s drug policy.
Ending a 19-year career, the twelve-time All-Star player who is considered one of the baseball’s greatest hitters, won two World Series championships with the Boston Red Sox.
He batted a career average of .312, and for 13 seasons he produced more than 200 RBIs. He hit a career total of 555 home runs and 1,831 RBIs, exceeding the number of home runs and RBIs of Mickey Mantle. He ranks number 14 on the all time list. Now there may be an asterisk after his record numbers.
“His numbers, he was unreal,” said Red Sox infielder Omar Vizquel, who was Ramirez’s teammate with the Cleveland Indians. “He was one of the most feared guys with runners in scoring position. … If there is a guy you really want at the plate in a tough situation, it would have been Manny.”
Ramirez’s retirement coincides with the trial of another of baseball’s great hitters, Barry Bonds, charged with falsely denying to a grand jury that he used performance-enhancing drugs.
“Until the past couple of years, I thought [Ramirez] was on his way to the Hall of Fame,” said Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington. “I don’t think many guys got as many big hits in their careers as he has. There weren’t many guys who had as big an effect on a game as he had. You hate to see greatness all of a sudden just fade.”