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Manny Ramirez, Best of an Era? Methinks Possibly…

Sometimes it takes fans who watch and follow a player day in and day out to truly appreciate his/her greatness. For me, it only takes about 30 at-bats a year.

That’s probably how many times I see Manny Ramirez step to the plate each baseball season. Perhaps you double that with recent postseason Sox success, but, generally speaking, this “National League guy” gets to witness Manny being Manny for six or eight games/year during those nationally-televised hype parties against the Yankees.

Some might say that’s an inadequate sample for a fan like me to make any statements worth listening to. In fact, one could argue I have no right or authority for anyone to pay attention to this rambling or any other. Those people would be absolutely right. But, as long as folks are coming and reading, I’m going to keep sharing opinions. So, here’s one. Manny Ramirez is the best hitter of my era.

Part of what makes baseball, and all sports, great is debate. And a seemingly essential part of baseball banter is stats. People love ’em, quote ’em, memorize ’em and use them as points for the prosecution or defense in virtually every sports-related argument ever waged, particularly when it comes to what’s gone on historically on the diamond. We’re throwing the stats out the window for this post. Deal with it.

Instead, we’ll only clarify one parameter and then share our non-scientific, completely observational perspective. After that, we’ll leave it up to you to ponder, debate or vehemently oppose our assertions.

The first and most important question is “era.” For the purposes of this discussion, we’re identifying the era as 1990-2010. We were in junior high at the start of that window and watching baseball with regularity. Those are about the only numbers we’re going to quote. During that period, we say Manny is the best hitter in baseball. One of the many ways we classify a great hitter is the much-referenced “would scare the sh*t out of me, if I was a fan of the opposing team when that guy’s up” factor. Nobody solicits that emotion with me more than Manny.

Some guys are great power hitters. These are the guys that come up to the plate and you’re convinced they’ll either hit a bomb, double off the wall, strike out or walk. Others, like Ichiro, you know are just going to find a way to get on base. There are very few though who demonstrate a combination of those two abilities. The ideal mix of power, a tremendous eye at the plate and the uncanny knack to make a pitcher pay for any mistake – deep.

Manny is that kind of hitter. Others that might fit in the discussion could be A-Rod, Pujols and that Bonds guy. We’re not going to include Barroid in this chat for obvious reasons. But, for me, there is a difference between Ramirez and A-Rod and Pujols. When I watch Albert and Alex hit there is a predominant feeling that if the pitcher falls behind and is forced to come into their respective wheelhouses it’s trouble.

Manny almost seems to will that situation. It’s as if those dreadlocks, the dirty helmet, the stare…pitchers start aiming, nibbling, backing down. Any pitcher goes down 1-0 to Manny, and I immediately think #24 is going to do damage. There’s a very small number of hitters I’ve felt that way about to a similar degree. And he’s been doing it for a long time.

So, in short, we think Manny is pretty filthy and is the best hitter of the 1990-2010 era. Tell us why we’re wrong. Oh yes, we also like comments that indicate complete and utter agreement as well.


  1. Dogzilla

    April 15, 2008 at 8:49 am

    There’s one other thing about Manny vs. Pujols and Rodriguez – you get the sense that Arod and Pujols are working hard, tense, on edge, like a cat about to pounce when they’re at the plate. Manny, standing there with his half-asleep expression, saggy pants and dreads…well he doesn’t exude the same tension other batters do. And then he unwinds and blasts one into the Mass Pike.

    Something about him makes me feel like he honestly, truly enjoys playing the game. Arod and Pujols? Not so much.

  2. Cecilio's Scribe

    April 15, 2008 at 8:52 am

    completely agree. in other news, the ball he hit on saturday hasn’t landed yet…

  3. Ian

    April 15, 2008 at 10:29 am

    You’re right. There’s no count that Manny can’t hit in. I think he likes that 0-2 count more than any other hitter in baseball.

  4. M.C. O'Connor

    April 16, 2008 at 8:44 am

    I love Manny. He’s great to watch. He’s such a smart hitter, with great patience and explosiveness. As brilliant as A-Rod and Pujols are, Ramirez seems more fundamentally solid, and at the same time his plate appearances have a real electricity. He’s the only guy in the last 15 years that comes close to Bonds. But make no mistake, he’s second to Barry. No shame in that, everyone is second to #25.

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