Top 100 Cleveland Indians: #20 Manny Ramirez

Upper Deck, 1992

Next on our list is one of the greatest hitters in baseball history, who holds multiple franchise records for the Indians.

Manuel Aristides (Onelcida) Ramirez

Right Fielder, 1993-2000

Height: 6'0" Weight: 225 lbs

Throws: Right Bats: Right

Acquired: Drafted in 1st round (13th pick), 1991

Left Via: Free agency, October 27, 2000

Manny Ramirez was born in Santo Domingo, capital city of the Dominican Republic. He was the youngest of four children, and the only son. He fell in love with baseball and carried that love with him when he moved to New York City's Washington Heights neighborhood, where he became a star in high school and was named City Public School Player of the Year in 1991 after batting .650. Just days after the season ended, Ramirez was drafted by the Indians in the 1st round, and two after that he signed for $257,000.

Manny was sent immediately to play rookie ball in Burlington, North Carolina, where he appeared in 59 games and posted a .326/.426/.678 batting line, earning him short-season Player of the Year honors from Baseball America, and the #37 spot on their annual Top 100 Prospects list. Over the next two years Ramirez breezed through Single-A, Double-A, and Triple-A, and he was named Baseball America's Minor League Player of the Year for 1993, and also given a brief call up to Cleveland in September. Ramirez collected his first career hit on September 3, a ground-rule double that he thought cleared the fences, making it the first instance of what would later become known as "Manny being Manny."


On Opening Day in 1994 the Tribe hosted the Seattle Mariners and faced off against Randy Johnson, runner up for the previous year's Cy Young Award In the 8th inning the Indians were being shutout until Manny came to the plate and shot a double to deep leftfield, tying the game. He proceeded to get picked off two pitches later, which makes that inning as fitting a microcosm of his entire career as you'll find.

Ramirez finished 2nd in Rookie of the Year voting that season and in 1995 he was a key member of one of the greatest offenses of the last half century, with a .308/.402/.558 line (while batting 7th most of the time, which gives you an idea of just how potent that lineup was). He was named to his first All-Star team and placed 12th in AL MVP balloting.

Ramirez was a remarkably consistent force at the plate over the next few seasons. Between 1995 and 1998 his OPS was between .953 and .981 every season, and when adjusted for league variances from year to year, his numbers bunch up even more, as evidenced by OPS+ figures of 147, 146, 144, and 146 for those years, and his wOBA figures of .413, .413, .413, and .409. On September 15, 1998 Ramirez hit 3 home runs in a a 7-5 win, kicking off a five-game stretch in which he hit 8 home runs and drove in 17 runs, one of the greatest weeks in Tribe history.

LGT's Top 100 Indians Countdown

Ramirez also hit 13 home runs in the playoffs following those four years, as be began to build his resume as one of the greatest postseason performers ever to play the game.

Manny was one of the dozen or so best hitters in baseball over those years, but he was largely overshadowed by his teammates in Cleveland. Albert Belle and Jim Thome were both slightly better hitters in those years, while Kenny Lofton wowed people with his speed, and fans marveled at Omar Vizquel's defensive prowess. Many did not fully appreciate how good Ramirez was, and perhaps because of his less than perfect English, he was sometimes treated as a caricature in the media.

In 1999, Manny stepped into a whole other stratosphere as a hitter, and put up one of the greatest seasons at the plate in franchise history, forcing baseball to pay attention. By the All-Star break Manny already had 25 home runs, 96 RBI, along with an OPS of 1.063. It was in the season's final two monts though, that he really turned things on. In August his line was .352/.451/.747, with 9 home runs. Then in September, he somehow did even better, putting up a line of .360/.524/.800, with another 8 home runs and 30 RBI. When the dust settled, he'd finished with 44 HR and 165 RBI for the season, a franchise record and still the highest total by any player in baseball since 1938. His 1.105 OPS led the league, he finished 3rd in the MVP voting, and won the Hank Aaron Award, given to the best hitter in each league.

Ramirez got off to a great start in 2000, but near the end of May he badly pulled his left hamstring, causing him to land on the DL and miss 39 games. By the time he came back on July 13, the Indians had fallen 10.5 games out of 1st place, and their five-season streak of making the playoffs was in serious jeopardy. Ramirez picked up right where he'd left off, and in the second half of the season (71 games played), he led the AL in HR (25), RBI (71), OBP (.483), SLG (.750), and OPS (1.233).

The Indians had the best record in the American League after Manny returned, but they couldn't reel in Chicago. The Tribe finished with a better record than the AL East-winning Yankees, but a game behind the Wild Card-winning Mariners, and missed the playoffs. Despite that, and despite his having missed a quarter of the season, Ramirez finished 6th in MVP voting. His 1.154 OPS set a franchise record that still stands.


In December Manny signed an 8-year, $160 millon contract with the Red Sox, making him one of the first two players in baseball history to earn a $20-million-a-year salary (Alex Rodriguez agreed to his massive contract with the Rangers that same week). In 2004 he was the best hitter on the first Boston team to win a World Series since 1918, and was named World Series MVP. He won another ring in 2007, and was then traded to the Dodgers in July of 2008. He played in only 53 games for Los Angeles that season, but hit so well (.396/.489/.743, with 17 home runs) that he placed 4th in the NL MVP vote. He later played briefly for the White Sox and Rays, with his last MLB appearance coming on April 6, 2011. He's expressed a desire to return to MLB, and was signed by the Athletics in 2012 and the Rangers in 2013, but didn't get put on the 25-man roster either time.

His reported PED-use and sometimes bizzarre behavior have left him something of a pariah, but the man was one of the greatest hitters in not only Cleveland Indians history, but baseball more generally. In addition the the single-season franchise records for RBI and OPS that I already mentioned, his overall slugging percentage (.592) and OPS (.998) with the Indians are also the top marks in franchise history.

"Manny being Manny" led to a lot of strange events, including his getting picked off in a World Series game, diving to intercept a teammates throw to the cut-off man, and ducking into the Green Monster during a game for a quick bathroom break, but to me, the phrase will always signify a man hitting baseballs with tremendous force and incredible skill.

Year Age Tm G PA R H 2B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+
1993 21 CLE 22 55 5 9 1 2 5 2 8 .170 .200 .302 .502 33
1994 22 CLE 91 336 51 78 22 17 60 42 72 .269 .357 .521 .878 125
1995 23 CLE 137 571 85 149 26 31 107 75 112 .308 .402 .558 .960 147
1996 24 CLE 152 647 94 170 45 33 112 85 104 .309 .399 .582 .981 146
1997 25 CLE 150 651 99 184 40 26 88 79 115 .328 .415 .538 .953 144
1998 26 CLE 150 663 108 168 35 45 145 76 121 .294 .377 .599 .976 146
1999 27 CLE 147 640 131 174 34 44 165 96 131 .333 .442 .663 1.105 174
2000 28 CLE 118 532 92 154 34 38 122 86 117 .351 .457 .697 1.154 186
CLE (8 yrs) 967 4095 665 1086 237 236 804 541 780 .313 .407 .592 .998 152

Provided by Baseball-Reference.com

Selected AL Awards and Leader Boards
  • All-Star: 1993, 1998, 1999, 2000
  • Hank Aaron Award: 1999
  • MVP: 3rd, 1999; 6th, 1998; 6th, 2000; 12th, 1995
  • Silver Slugger: 1995, 1999, 2000 (OF)
  • WAR: 4th, 1999-7.3
  • WAR Position Players: 3rd, 1999-7.3
  • oWAR: 3rd, 1999-7.0; 6th, 2000-6.4; 9th, 1997-5.3
  • Batting Average: 3rd, 2000-.351; 5th, 1997-.328; 5th, 1999-.333
  • On Base Percentage: 2nd, 1999-.442; 3rd, 2000-.457; 6th, 1997-.415
  • Slugging: 1st, 1999-.663; 1st, 2000-.697; 4th, 1998-.599; 9th, 1995-.558
  • OPS: 1st, 1999-1.105; 1st, 2000-1.154; 7th, 1997-.953; 9th, 1995-.960; 9th, 1998-.976
  • Runs: 4th, 1999-131
  • Hits: 7th, 1997-184
  • Total Bases: 4th, 1999-346; 8th, 1997-302; 8th, 1998-342; 9th, 1996-320
  • Doubles: 6th, 1999-45; 9th, 1997-40
  • Home Runs: 3rd, 1999-44; 4th, 1998-45; 9th, 2000-38
  • RBI: 1st, 1999-165; 4th, 1998-145; 7th, 1995-107; 8th, 2000-122
  • Walks: 9th, 1999-96
  • Strikeouts: 8th, 1999-131; 10th, 1995-112
  • OPS+: 1st, 1999-174; 2nd, 2000-186; 6th, 1995-147; 8th, 1997-144; 10th, 1996-146; 10th, 1998-146
  • RC: 1st, 1999-158; 6th, 2000-144; 8th, 1997-124; 8th, 1998-128; 10th, 1995-109
  • Extra Base Hits: 3rd, 1999-81; 4th, 1998-82; 5th, 1996-81; 10th, 2000-74
Cleveland Indians Career Leader
  • t-16th WAR Position Players (29.9)
  • 10th oWAR (33.5)
  • t-12th Average (.313)
  • 4th On Base Percentage (.407)
  • 1st Slugging (.592)
  • 1st OPS (.998)
  • 32nd Games Played (967)
  • 36th At Bats (3470)
  • 28th Plate Appearances (4095)
  • 17th Runs Scored (665)
  • 23rd Hits (1086)
  • 13th Total Bases (2053)
  • 14th Doubles (237)
  • 3rd Home Runs (236)
  • 8th Runs Batted In (804)
  • 14th Bases On Balls (541)
  • 6th Strikeouts (780)
  • 42nd Singles (602)
  • t-4th OPS+ (152)
  • 10th Runs Created (847)
  • 8th Extra Base Hits (484)
Cleveland Indians Season Leader
  • t-17th oWAR (7.0, 1999)
  • t-30th oWAR (6.4, 2000)
  • 27th Average (.351, 2000)
  • 9th On Base Percentage (.457, 2000)
  • t-16th On Base Percentage (.442, 1999)
  • t-43rd On Base Percentage (.415, 1997)
  • 2nd Slugging (.697, 2000)
  • 5th Slugging (.663, 1999)
  • 18th Slugging (.599, 1998)
  • 28th Slugging (.582, 1996)
  • t-39th Slugging (.558, 1995)
  • 1st OPS (1.154, 2000)
  • 4th OPS (1.105, 1999)
  • 36th OPS (.981, 1996)
  • 40th OPS (.976, 1998)
  • t-46th OPS (.960, 1995)
  • 8th Runs Scored (131, 1999)
  • t-42nd Runs Scored (108, 1998)
  • 12th Total Bases (346, 1999)
  • 14th Total Bases (342, 1998)
  • 25th Total Bases (320, 1996)
  • 35th Total Bases (306, 2000)
  • t-40th Total Bases (302, 1997)
  • t-22nd Doubles (45, 1996)
  • 5th Home Runs (45, 1998)
  • 6th Home Runs (44, 1999)
  • t-13th Home Runs (38, 2000)
  • t-23rd Home Runs (33, 1996)
  • t-43rd Home Runs (31, 1995)
  • 1st Runs Batted In (165, 1999)
  • t-4th Runs Batted In (145, 1998)
  • 20th Runs Batted In (122, 2000)
  • t-42nd Runs Batted In (112, 1996)
  • t-29th Bases On Balls (96, 1999)
  • t-8th OPS+ (186, 2000)
  • 17th OPS+ (174, 1999)
  • 3rd Runs Created (158, 1999)
  • t-12th Runs Created (144, 2000)
  • t-32nd Runs Created (128, 1998)
  • t-34th Runs Created (127, 1996)
  • t-39th Runs Created (124, 1997)
  • t-10th Extra Base Hits (82, 1998)
  • t-12th Extra Base Hits (81, 1996, 1999)
  • t-24th Extra Base Hits (74, 2000)

.

Latest News

In This Article

Teams
Players
X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Let's Go Tribe

You must be a member of Let's Go Tribe to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Let's Go Tribe. You should read them.

Join Let's Go Tribe

You must be a member of Let's Go Tribe to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Let's Go Tribe. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9351_tracker