Boston Red Sox legend Manny Ramirez is still trying to play baseball. The former Cleveland Indians and Los Angeles Dodgers star last played in 2017 for the Fight Dogs of Japan’s independent Shikou Island League.
When his career ended in 2011, Ramirez joined the then-EDA Rhinos in the Chinese Professional Baseball League. And in just a half of a season, he batted .352 with eight homers and 43 RBI.
Ramirez, a 12-time MLB All-Star, is looking to play in New Zealand for the Auckland Tuatara, according to the team’s chief executive. Ramirez reportedly reached out to the team about an opportunity to play in the Australian Baseball League for the 2020-21 season.
“This is real. If we can make it work, we’re a safe harbor,” said chief executive Regan Wood. “If he can get in and play, there are all these ABL connotations whether we go across the ditch or not. It’s a real conversation. He’s a pretty laid-back character.”
Ramirez recently told the Taiwan Times that he missed the feeling of completing. “My goal for 2020 is to find a spot in the [CPBL] I have been itching to get back in the batter’s box and be able to compete again,” Ramirez said to the newspaper. “I also miss being around teammates and team dinners post-game.”
Ramirez was the World Series MVP during the Red Sox’s 2004 championship run. He is currently ranked 15th on Major League Baseball’s all-time home run list with 555. His 29 postseason home runs are the most in MLB history. He appeared in 12 All-Star Games, with a streak of 11 consecutive games beginning in 1998 that included every season that he played with the Red Sox.
The charismatic Ramirez is widely known for his out-going personality and competitive nature. He’s loved by his teammates as well as baseball fans all over the world.
Born in the Dominican Republic, Ramirez moved to New York City when he was 13 years old with his parents, and later went on to be a #1 draft pick for the Cleveland Indians in 1991, with the 13th selection overall. He made his MLB debut on September 2, 1993 and went on to win the Rookie of the Year Award in 1995.
The most controversial part of Ramírez’s career was when he tested positive for steroids in 2009 and was suspended 50-games for violating MLB’s drug policy by taking human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), a women’s fertility drug that is often taken after steroids.
In the spring of 2011, Ramirez was informed by MLB of another violation of its drug policy, and a 100-game suspension. He chose to retire on April 8 rather than appeal the suspension. However, in September 2011, Ramirez wished to be reinstated and agreed in December with the league to a reduced 50-game suspension. Though he played at various points in the Oakland A’s, Texas Rangers, and Chicago Cubs systems, as well as international, Ramirez did not appear in another Major League game.
Known as a complete hitter who could hit for both power and average, and widely regarded as one of the best right-handed hitters of his generation, I don’t think there’s any reason why Ramírez can’t still play at 48 years old, in New Zealand. Especially since Julio Franco, 49, and Ichiro Suzuki, 45, both played well past their prime in Major League Baseball.
Photo Source: Manny Ramirez