On that September night in Boston, in 1960, Ted Williams rounded the bases as he had done so many times at Fenway Park. The "Splendid Splinter", just moments before, had taken a pitch thrown by Baltimore's Jack Fisher and deposited it neatly over the right-field fence.
Many of the fans inside baseball's cathedral knew this would be the last time they would witness the legendary slugger doing what he did best. When Williams reached the Boston dugout, the fans clamored for him to tip his cap—a gesture he always had stubbornly resisted.
But, just as he had done more than 500 other times during his amazing career, Williams simply took his seat among his Red Sox teammates and refused to acquiesce to the crowd's wishes. And then he was gone.
Nearly 50 years after Williams left the Red Sox, we are now faced with the possibility of another hard-headed hitter—Manny Ramirez—leaving the Olde Towne Team with little fanfare and surely less applause from the Fenway faithful.
Ramirez, the enigmatic slugger who helped bring two World Series championships to Boston, has once again demanded to be traded. This time, Red Sox ownership should accommodate him. "The Red Sox don't deserve a player like me," Ramirez reportedly told ESPNDeportes.
Where once his antics were cute and his foibles endearing, Ramirez and his annual "I'm not getting the love and respect I deserve" act has grown tiresome. Fans in Boston routinely booed Williams for his surly attitude, despite his demonstrated ability to hit the long ball. Ramirez recently has been treated to a similar cacophony, and it is warranted.
With the Red Sox in the middle of a heated pennant race, Ramirez took a couple days off, due to what he says was a sore knee. Tests on both knees revealed nothing. Against the Angels recently, Ramirez turned a routine pop up into what the Boston Globe defined as a "giggle-fest" and resulted in a triple for a Los Angeles batter.
If Ramirez honestly believes he would be treated better in another market (Miami? Philadelphia?), the Red Sox should let him have his way. Even with his numbers down this season, the team should be able to secure at least one young slugger and, possibly, a pitcher to help reach the playoffs.
Baseball's trade deadline is fast approaching and the Red Sox should work hard to ensure that Ramirez is moved. Too bad fans' memories of Ramirez will not match those of Williams.
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