Manny Ramirez Retires and 7 Great Hitters with Ruined Reputations
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Manny Ramirez has announced his retirement from major league baseball, rather than continue with the league's drug use program.
The slugger is just the most recent in a litany of elite hitters who have seen their reputations tarnished by the use of performance-enhancing drugs. How great could they have been without?
Manny will go down as one of the greatest pure hitters of his generation, and will never sniff the Hall of Fame because "great" wasn't enough.
Barry Bonds, San Francisco Giants
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Career numbers: .298, 762 HR, 1996 RBI, 514 SB, 1.051 OPS
Barry Bonds is currently waiting for a jury to decide if he knowingly took performance-enhancing drugs or not but, regardless, his reputation is forever tarnished.
A seven-time MVP, and technically, baseball's home run king, Bonds was one of the greatest overall athletes in baseball. He recorded 14 30-plus HR seasons, and nine seasons of 30-plus stolen bases.
Rafael Palmeiro, Texas Rangers/Baltimore Orioles
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Career numbers: .288, 569 HR, 1835 RBI, 3020 hits, .885 OPS
Palmeiro was one of the most likable players in baseball for the duration of his career.
But he tested positive for steroids, and will always be known for that singular mistake in a career of greatness that included nine straight years of 35-plus HR.
Palmeiro is one of the rare members of the 3,000 hit club who will not get into the Hall of Fame.
Mark McGwire, St. Louis Cardinals
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Career numbers: .263, 583 HR, 1414 RBI, .982 OPS
Mark McGwire was the most powerful hitter in the game for much of his career.
Between 1987-92, McGwire hit 217 home runs. He managed just 279 at bats in 1993 and 1994 because of injuries. Then suddenly, at 31-years-old, he was back better than ever.
He hit 284 over the next five seasons, topping out at 70 and 65 in 1998 and 1999 respectively.
Sammy Sosa, Chicago Cubs
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Career numbers: .273, 609 HR, 1667 RBI, 234 SB, .878 OPS
Sammy Sosa raced McGwire for the single season home run record in 1998, but few remember he also had two 30/30 seasons.
Sosa was a tremendous athlete, who gave up his speed for the mammoth power that resulted from his steroid use. He also was caught using a corked bat at one point in his Cubs career.
Sammy Sosa left the game embarrassed by his antics, attempting a comeback in 2007 with the Rangers that sputtered to a sad end.
Jose Canseco, Oakland A's
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Career numbers: .266, 462 HR, 1407 RBI, 200 SB, .867 OPS
Did anyone start asking questions when Canseco was built like The Incredible Hulk?
He made the biggest splash of all these sluggers by outing himself and many others on this list with his book "Juiced."
Canseco was the rat of the steroid era, shining light on something no one wanted to talk about. Now, he is the face of the generation and will earn more votes to baseball's Hall of Shame. In fact, he might be appointed official spokesman for such a hall.
Alex Rodriguez, New York Yankees
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One of the greatest overall players of all time, A-Rod was forever tainted in the eyes of many baseball fans when he confessed to using performance-enhancing drugs.
The only active player on this list, Rodriguez has dealt with his drug use and moved past it to continue a successful career with the Yankees.
Depending on the duration of the steroid era, and the enduring consequences, Rodriguez might someday have a chance to be elected to the Hall of Fame, but that would be way in the future.
Manny Ramirez, Boston Red Sox
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Career numbers: .312, 555 HR, 1831 RBI, 1544 R, .996 OPS
Manny was Manny. His antics are well-known. His dreadlocks are as recognizable as any haircut in sports, and his swing is as pretty as any to have picked up a baseball bat.
He was the face of the Boston Red Sox for the duration of his prime. Between 1995 and 2008, he hit 30 or more HR 12 times.
Ten times he hit .300 and 30 HR in the same season. Manny Ramirez will never be in the Hall of Fame.