Manuel Aristides Onelcida Ramírez was born on May 30, 1972 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. He grew up in poverty on the sixth floor of an apartment building with no elevator with his mother, father, and siblings. He received his first baseball glove when his Grandmother returned from a trip to New York City. In 1983, Manny's parents left him and his siblings to live with his grandparents, so they could start a new life in the USA. The kids would follow their parents two years later. His father drove a cab, and his mother worked in a sewing factory. The kids even worked in department stores to help raise money, and they still slept 4 to a bed. Manny attended George Washington High School in NYC, Manny spent four years at that high school but never graduated. Manny ended up only learning a little bit of English, mostly due to every class having a translator.
Manny helped his high school team to three straight Manhattan Division championships and a trip to the division finals in his senior year. He was a powerhouse in high school, with a batting average of .630 and a ridiculous slugging percentage of 1.455! He would homer in every 6 at bats. Manny received All-City honors in 89, 90 and 91, and he was named the NYC Public Schools High School player of the Year in 1991. Later in 1991, Manny would be selected by the Cleveland Indians as the 13th pick in the amateur draft. Manny would go on to hone his skills playing for Burlington in the Appalachian League. The next year Manny moved up to Kinston, and played single-A ball. He was called the most exciting player that ever played in the Carolina Leagues, even though a hand injury limited his season to 81 games.
In 1993, Manny would see playing time in Ohio, unfortunately, it was not in Cleveland. He moved up to the AA Canton-Akron team and lead the Eastern League with a .340 batting average. Not much later in the year, Manny was called up to AAA Charlotte, where he impressed future Indians manager Charlie Manuel. Manny received a call to the majors on September 1, 1993, and made his debut the next day. Manny did not fare well, going 0-4 against Minnesota. However the next day, Manny would hit 2 homers and a ground rule double in front of his family and friends, in his former home town of New York.
In 94, the Indians didn't think that they'd be using Ramirez much, and thought he would be moving down to Charlotte again. However, after hitting .444 in spring training, the management changed their minds. Manny would go on to hit .269 with 17 home runs in the strike shortened season, finishing second to Bob Hamelin in the Rookie of the Year voting. This would not discourage Manny as he went on to hit very well alongside fellow power hitter Jim Thome, as the two were the meat of Cleveland's offense. Manny was not without his problems. His attention would sometimes shift while he was in the field, leading to dropped balls and interesting catches. Sometimes he would get picked too easily and would loose track of balls and strikes while batting. The Indians thought Manny might have a mental problem, and sent him to Dr. Charles Maher, who deduced that it was shyness and not ADD, and gave Manny some focusing exercises. Manny, in return, gave Dr. Maher his team MVP trophy.
Manny Ramirez was known for goofing around with his teammates, as he often engaged in horseplay with a few before games. He would also "borrow" items out of other players' lockers, most noticeably the extra-large pair of pants that belonged to Dan Williams, the team's former pitching coach. One year at spring training, he showed up with orange hair, and rode a girl's pink bicycle around the park for training.
Manny missed 44 games due to a hamstring problem in 2000. He injured it while chasing after a grounder in a game against the California Angels. When Manny returned he helped, and practically carried, the Indians back into the playoffs, however it would not be enough. Management at this time had changed their view on Ramirez, and thought that he was hurting more than helping. On December 12, 2000, Manny signed an 8 year, $160 million dollar deal with the Boston Red Sox, hours after Alex Rodriguez signed his ridiculous 10 year, $252 million dollar contract with the Texas Rangers. Manny started out in Boston on the best foot possible by saying "I'm coming to have a better chance to win the (World Series) ring ... I'm just tired of seeing New York always win." Whether it was the large contract, or his improved skill with the English language, Manny felt more comfortable in Beantown.
On opening day in 2001, Manny took the first pitch he saw, and launched it over the Green Monster, much to the delight of the Fenway Faithful. That would be the first of 41 Manny would hit that year. Near the end of the season, in October, Manny got married to a local waitress, Juliana Monterio in a private ceremony. On May 14, 2002 Manny fractured a finger on his left hand by (stupidly) diving into home head first. He was called out on the play and missed 6 weeks of play. He was re-activated on June 26th after a short stint in Pawtucket.
Many consider Manny to be a clubhouse poison, and as such, the Red Sox have been trying to get rid of him for years. Prior to the 2003 season, they placed him on waivers, which would have allowed any team to claim him (and his $120 million contract), but no one wanted the responsibility. The following season, there were rumors of a trade between the Sox and Yankees, sending Manny to the Bronx in exchange for Alex Rodriguez, but the trade never materialized. During the 2005-06 offseason, Manny has again been the subject of numerous trade rumors, but his gargantuan contract effectively makes him untradable, so it would seem that the Red Sox are stuck with him until it runs out.
Position: Left Field