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Whether he was cutting off a Johnny Damon throw from center field or disappearing into the Green Monster between innings, Manny Ramirez was one of the quirkiest players in franchise history.
He was also one of the greatest right-handed hitters in the history of the game.
In his prime, Ramirez was capable of putting up freakish numbers. In his illustrious 19-year career, Ramirez averaged the following per season: .312/.411/.585/.996, with just under 30 homers, 29 doubles and 96 RBI a year.
But he was known to do some bizarre things. For example, he once made a fantastic catch on the run in a game against the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards. But before throwing the ball back into the infield (for a double play) Ramirez leaped towards the bleacher seats and high-fived a fan.
The entertaining experience known as “Manny being Manny” made Ramirez one of Boston’s most popular athletes.
But there was a dark side to his antics. Ramirez’ commitment to baseball was often questioned. In addition to routinely arriving late to Spring Training (citing his grandmother’s illness on several occasions), Ramirez would often display minimal effort.
In 2006—when Boston was struggling to stay in the playoff picture—he missed 28 of the team’s 36 remaining games because of a phantom knee injury.
He forced his way out of town in 2008 when he got into two altercations, one with Red Sox traveling secretary Jack McCormick, and the other with teammate Kevin Youkilis in the dugout (they had to be separated).
On July 5, Ramirez pinch-hit late in a game against the Yankees. With the go-ahead run at third base, Ramirez stepped into the box and took three consecutive strikes (without lifting the bat off his shoulder) from Mariano Rivera. The Red Sox ended up losing the game 4-5.
Ramirez continued to become a cancer for the team, lying about yet another knee injury. When an MRI showed no damage, fans and members of the media became infuriated with the star left fielder.
He was traded on July 31 to the Los Angeles Dodgers in a three-team deal that brought Jason Bay to Boston. Bay received a standing ovation from the Fenway crowd during his first at-bat.
Ramirez, on the other hand, was pelted with a shower of boos during his first at-bat against the Red Sox as a member of the Dodgers, in June 2010.