Manny Ramirez played for eight years with the Boston Red Sox. He helped them win two World Series, hit some epic home runs, made some interesting fielding choices and birthed the “Manny Being Manny” meme before the internet was bursting at the seems with such things.
But before he was a Boston legend, he was one with the Cleveland Indians. For eight years before he signed with the Red Sox in December of 2000, Ramirez was a triple crown waiting to happen in Cleveland, the team that took him in the first round of the 1991 MLB Draft.
Obviously Ramirez went on to play for a few other teams, including the Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago White Sox and Tampa Bay Rays, but he will always be remembered for his time in Boston and Cleveland. But which team did he provide more for? If he somehow manages to get inducted into Cooperstown one day, which team’s cap should he don? Since this is a Red Sox site, the easy answer would be to say Boston, wrap it up and get you to today’s links. But I’m going to try to be a little objective in answering this question.
We’ll get things started with an overused internet gimmick. Below are the stat lines for two players. Both players are Manny Ramirez, but one is the Ramirez that played for Cleveland and the other is the one that played in Boston. Which one is better?
Player A - 4,095 plate appearances, .313/.407/.592, 236 home runs, 152 OPS+, 30.0 bWAR, 30.7 fWAR
Player B - 4,682 plate appearances, .312/.411/.588, 274 home runs, 155 OPS+, 33.2 bWAR, 29.6 fWAR
A quick search of Baseball Reference will answer which player played for which team, but try your best to just look at these with face value. You’ll notice Player B had nearly 600 more plate appearances, which helped produce more of the counting statistics. If we break it down, both players averaged roughly 0.007 bWAR per plate appearance, while Player A averaged 0.057 home runs per plate appearance and 0.058 home runs per plate appearance. Player B is better based on FanGraph’s WAR metric, but the difference isn’t incredibly drastic. That’s pretty close to identical.
Now let’s get to a few more items. Player A had three top six MVP finishes, and twice led the American League in OPS. Player B won a batting title, had four top six MVP finishes, won a World Series MVP and made the All Star game eight times.
By now I’m sure you’ve figured out that Boston Ramirez is Player B and Cleveland Ramirez is Player A. When you add the accolades to the numbers, the argument for Boston Ramirez being the superior version is difficult to dispute. But its not an open and shut decision. There’s gray area here. Where there isn’t is in the fact that for 16 years (and a few more after that), Ramirez was absolutely incredible. Boston Ramirez was just an iota or two more incredible.
David Price is back on his ace ish. (Eno Sarris; The Athletic) ($$)
Tony La Russa has liked what he’s seen from the Red Sox this year. (Chris Cotillo; MassLive)
You can count Terry Francona as another guy who has been impressed by Alex Cora’s work as manager and the Red Sox as a whole. (Nicole Yang; Boston.com)
From the other side, Boston is looking in a mirror to an extent when playing Cleveland. (Jen McCaffrey; The Athletic) ($$)
ESPN’s Jessica Mendoza was in Boston recently and the Boston Globe caught up with her. (Gary Dzen; Boston Globe)
Eduardo Rodriguez is on his way back. (Logan Mullen; NESN)
Sandy Alomar deserves a shot at managing. (Peter Abraham; Boston Globe)