I’m not part of the Baseball Writers of America, but Manny Ramirez is not a Hall-of-Famer. There’s no question he has a resume that screams Hall-of-Famer. He is a member of the 500 home run club, he is a two-time World Series champion, he is a World Series MVP, he has had magical moments in the regular season and in the postseason, he is one of the most clutch postseason hitters of all-time, and he is one of the best right-handed hitters to ever play the game. When you look at his resume, it’s worthy of a Hall call, but he lost that honor this past week when he reportedly retired upon hearing the news that he was going to be suspended for 100 games for allegedly testing positive for a performance enhancing drug. This was the second time he failed a drug test.
I can’t ignore the stats and the great moments that he brought to the game. I don’t know how much his career was helped by the use of performance enhancing drugs or how good he would have been without them. At the same time, I can’t ignore the two positive tests either. Manny Ramirez’s legacy will be tainted and instead of deciding what hat to wear for his induction ceremony, he will finish his career with one hit in his final 17 at-bats and facing a 100 game suspension for cheating. That’s not a Hall-of-Famer.
Nomar Garciaparra joined ESPN Chicago with the Afternoon Saloon to talk about what his reaction was when he heard of Manny Ramirez retiring, if his view on Ramirez has changed based on this news, and whether or not he thinks Manny Ramirez is a Hall-of-Famer.
How he reacted to the news about Manny Ramirez retiring:
“I think the reports that we’re getting too, we don’t really know the circumstances behind it. We just know that they notified him with something with regard to the drug program. I think we’re all just waiting for the exact information. We may never get it, but I think my one reaction is I think baseball lost one of the best right handed hitters, that he decided to retire. I know for myself as a teammate and friend, he was fun to watch and it was fun to be his teammate.”
If his opinion of Manny has changed upon hearing this news:
“I don’t like the fact that anybody had taken performance enhancing drugs in this game. I think it really takes away from the game period. You just never know how good a person could’ve been with them or without them. I think that’s the biggest thing to me when I see this. I give a lot of people credit who have stood up and admitted it. With Manny it has always been you just don’t know if he has had a failed drug test and what it’s for. In these circumstances we may never know until I really hear it or hear it from his mouth before I do that with anybody so I understand what’s really going on. I really just go off my time with him and my time watching him. So many people really don’t know how hard of a worker he really was. People see his play out there and they assume he’s lazy. He’s so calm at the plate that they say he’s lazy. This guy worked so hard at his craft. He worked when nobody else was around and nobody was looking. I would catch him every once and a while working and I would be like alright. I know. I know why he was great and such a great hitter. It was because of those times.”
Whether or not Manny Ramirez should be a Hall-of-Famer:
“My personal belief when it comes to the Hall-of-Fame, I want to first understand is there a criteria, are there numbers, or what is it what gets you in the Hall-of-Fame? You don’t know rather than just some of the voting. Some of these guys that admitted they took performance enhancing drugs I don’t believe they should be in the Hall-of-Fame. The one thing about the Hall-of-Fame there’s integrity that goes along with that and if numbers are a major criteria to get you in there then the one thing about performance enhancing drugs is that they alter numbers. That’s what they do and that’s what they’re capable of. I don’t understand why even if you put somebody in the Hall-of-Fame and you find out that they did it later why you can’t take people out of it either. I didn’t know once you were in there you’re in there forever. Even anything that happens after that. They took Reggie Bush’s Heisman away so why can’t they take you out of the Hall. I don’t understand that. I think it’s truly an honor to be a part of that, certain things come with being a Hall-of-Famer as well, and that’s just kinda my view. When it comes to things like this and you find out somebody in there has done that you can take ‘em out. There’s a big difference between somebody knowingly taking them and somebody who might’ve been irresponsible at a time and maybe failed a test. There are different circumstances for everybody and when it comes to voting everybody has to look at those circumstances as well.”
Listen to Nomar Garciaparra on ESPN Chicago here (Audio begins 1:43:30 into the podcast)