Retired slugger Manny Ramirez was at Fenway Park on Tuesday as the Red Sox celebrated their 2018 belt and title. After the Sox, Ramirez was asked about his Baseball Hall of Fame chances and ambitions:
When asked if he thought he wound one day make the Hall, Ramirez responded: "I hope so. We've been praying. Everybody makes mistakes. Nobody's perfect. I think with time, if it's God will, you're going to be there. If not, hey, we're just happy we got the opportunity to play the game that we love."
On the numbers alone, Ramirez is a no-doubt Hall of Famer. He batted .312/.411/.585 for his career, which spanned 2,302 games and almost 10,000 plate appearances. That slash line comes to an OPS+ of 154, which ranks 26th all-time. Along the way, he stacked up 2,574 hits; 555 home runs; 547 doubles; 1,329 walks; 1,544 runs scored; 1,831 RBI; and 4,826 total bases. Even after you account for his fielding liabilities he owns a career WAR of 69.4, which is good for 73rd all-time among position players and just outside the top 100 all-time once you bring pitchers into the mix.
Of course, Ramirez's story insofar as the Hall is concerned encompasses much more than just his on-field outputs. In 2009, Ramirez was suspended for 50 games after his urine sample from spring training showed elevated levels of testosterone and after medical documentation showed he had taken a banned fertility drug. In 2011, Ramirez was suspended for a second time -- this time for 100 games -- when he again tested positive for a banned substance. Rather than serve that 100-game suspension, he retired.
Ramirez has since rehabilitated his image to an extent, but it hasn't really helped him when it comes to Hall voters. Check out his year-by-year ballot percentages, while keeping in mind that candidates must be named on at least 75 percent of BBWAA ballots in order to earn election:
- 2017: 23.8 percent of ballots
- 2018: 22.0 percent of ballots
- 2019: 22.8 percent of ballots
As you can see, that's well short of what he needs, and there's also no evidence of forward momentum. These days, candidates get 10 years on the BBWAA ballot, and right now it's hard to imagine that Ramirez will build enough support in time to make it by these means. Years down the road, though, perhaps an Era Committee will look more favorably upon his case.