It's just "Manny being Manny."
Over Manny Ramirez's 19 year career, this catchphrase embodied who he was, a free spirit that could not be tamed. Like his personality, his bat was also a force that could not be tamed in his prime.
With a .312 lifetime batting average and 555 home runs, Ramirez established himself as one of the greatest and most feared hitters during our time, being selected to the All-Star Game 12 times.
Let's not focus on the controversy surrounding him the past couple years that made him abruptly retire and instead look at the good times, the glory years. Let us focus on the years that made him deadliest and smartest hitter during our time. The fan favorite, the media favorite, Manny Ramirez.
In 1994, a 22-year-old 1st round pick out of Washington Heights, New York, played his first full season in the show for the Cleveland Indians, and did not disappoint.
Batting .269, he hit 17 home runs with 60 RBI that year. He finished the year placing second in the Rookie of the Year voting, losing to Bob Hamelin of the Kansas City Royals.
Although 1995 was the coming out party of Ramirez, his rookie year was what started it all. He went on to lead the Indians to playoffs every year, even appearing in two World Series.
Amid trade rumors, Ramirez decided that he wanted to stay in Boston for the 2006 season. He made a good decision, as the 2006 season marked quite a number of milestones.
Although the Red Sox did not make the postseason that year, Ramirez hit .321 with 35 HR and 102 RBI. He had an OBP of .439, the second highest of his career. Ramirez became the 31st player to hit 450 HR and also collected his 2,000 hit of his career that year. Before missing games due to injury, Ramirez went on a tear, having a 28 game hit streak in mid-July.
Ramirez also went on to his 10th All-Star Game that year, while winning his 9th Silver Slugger Award.
2007 marked another year of accomplishments for Manny Ramirez, despite having his season cut short. While his stats were under his career averages (Ramirez hit .296 with 20 HR and 88 RBI), Ramirez still managed to make the All-Star team for an 11th time. He also became the fifth player to hit 50 career home runs off the Yankees, making the mark of a Yankee killer.
Ramirez turned into Mr. Clutch in the post-season, hitting a walk off home run in ALDS against the Angels. He also broke Bernie Williams record for most home runs in the post-season with 23. He helped the Red Sox sweep the Rockies in the World Series, hitting an astonishing .348 with 4 HR and 16 RBI.
In 2008, Manny Ramirez gave the fans of Boston a farewell present before he experienced a change of scenery. Ramirez hit his 500th HR of his career that year, becoming only the 24th player to do so. After, he went coast to coast, from Boston to Los Angeles, with more hype then David Beckham's Los Angeles arrival.
Ramirez proved that a switch of leagues and age didn't slow him, finishing fourth in the voting for NL MVP.
Capped off by an improbable World Series run that included a 3 game deficit to New York in the ALCS, Ramirez experienced probably one of, if not his best year of his career. He led the American League in home runs (41), OPS (1.009), and slugging percentage (.613). Ramirez capped off an amazing season with his first and Boston's first World Series Championship in 86 years, along with winning the World Series MVP award.
Ramirez was known as one of the deadliest and smartest hitters in the game along with a pesky attitude. His years in his prime seemed to carry on forever, scaring pitchers but winning the hearts of fans.
I guess it's just Manny being Manny.