The Case for Manny Ramirez

By: William Earl Robinson Jr.

This year is probably one of the most interesting votes in hall of fame history. Why? Well there are one hundred fewer voters this year than there were last year and when you are talking about 550 down to 450 that are about 18% of the voters that have now dropped out of voting. How is that significant? It’s very significant when you consider that the hall of fame is determined by a percentage vote, not numbers. So depending on the voters there could be a dramatic swing in how some certain people are viewed and their hall of fame candidacy. Namely the steroid guys: Bonds, Clemens and now Manny Ramirez.

Manny being Manny

Manny being Manny

Manny Ramirez this year is entering his first year on the ballot. If it wasn’t for the two failed drug tests Manny Ramirez would be a slam dunk hall of famer. He was one of the most feared hitters in baseball for several years and retired with an OPS above .950 (which I think should be a new golden number, but I’ll get to that in a moment). But, Manny being Manny has two failed drug tests on his record and that’s going to cost him a lot of votes. It doesn’t help that he wasn’t the most popular guy around and that he often fought with management either.

Here is my case though for Manny getting into the hall of fame. Manny Ramirez is a 12 time all star, he has also won 9 silver slugger awards. He retired with OPS of .996 a batting average of .312, and 555 HR’s. His post season batting average was .285 and his post season OPS was .937.  His two steroid positive tests came in 2009 and 2011 two of the final years of his career in a time in which it had become obvious that he was an aging star desperate to hold on to his career. I would argue that there is little proof that those years did anything to improve his hall of fame resume.

Let’s compare him to some other ball players though shall we? How about Frank Thomas, Ken Griffey Jr., Vladimir Guerrero and Mickey Mantle for good measure.

Player Manny Ramirez Frank Thomas Ken Griffey Jr Vladimir Guerrero Mickey Mantle
HR 555 521 630 449 536
BA .312 .301 .284 .318 .298
OPS .996 .974 .907 .931 .977
All Star 12 5 12 9 16
Silver Slugger 9 4 7 8 0
Gold Glove 0 0 10 0 1
MVP 0 2 1 1 3

 

If you look at the numbers above it could very easily be argued that he had a better career than Frank Thomas, and Vladimir Guerrero and had numbers that are equal to that of the late Great Mickey Mantle and in some ways compared favorably as a hitter to Ken Griffey Jr. In fact having been a Reds fan I would easily argue that I wished our team had him rather than Griffey those years as Griffey was constantly injured and Manny seemed to be at least moderately reliable to be on the field. The big detractor in the numbers above is that he never was an MVP but again I think that is more of a popularity contest than raw numbers.

So what about this OPS? I’ve written time and again that an OPS above .950 should be a golden number and should be a ticket to the hall of fame. Why is that? Let’s look at the list of career OPS leaders.

  1. Babe Ruth 1.164
  2. Ted Williams 1.15
  3. Lou Gehrig 1.08
  4. Barry Bonds 1.051
  5. Jimmie Foxx 1.038
  6. Hank Greenberg 1.017
  7. Rogers Hornsby 1. 010
  8. Manny Ramirez!!! .997
  9. Mark McGwire .982
  10. Mickey Mantle .977

 

Look at that!!! He’s top 10 all time!!! There’s only 20 players in the history of baseball who have a career OPS over .950! If that’s not a golden ticket then I don’t know what is. BTW the other ten if you are curious are: Joe Dimaggio, Frank Thomas, Larry Walker, Stan Musial, Albert Pujols, Miguel Cabrera, Joey Votto, Johnny Mize, Jim Thome, and Todd Helton. These are the best hitters in the game, and right there at number 8 is Manny Ramirez. So without a doubt his numbers should put him in the hall of fame. But will they?

It all depends on those 100 voters. If those 100 voters are staunch PED antagonists then theres a decent chance, but if they are 100 of the apologists then there’s no chance. My feeling is this: I think you should compare players against other players of their era. Namely if you are going to compare Manny to other players of his era that used PED’s then you’d have to compare him to Bonds, Sosa, McGwire, Palmeiro, and Ortiz. On that list he is better than all of them other than Bonds. So in my book he is a hall of famer and would get my vote.

Player Ramirez Bonds Sosa McGwire Palmeiro Ortiz
HR 555 762 609 583 569 541
OPS .997 1.051 .878 .982 .885 .931
BA .312 .298 .273 .263 .288 .286
All Star 12 14 7 12 4 10
Silver Slugger 9 12 6 3 2 7
Gold Glove 0 8 0 1 3 0
MVP 0 7 1 0 0 0