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Wednesday, June 19, 2013
Manny's not being Manny anymorePosted Monday, April 11, 2011, at 9:21 AM
His name was already synonymous with steroid use.
But what happened with Manny Ramirez in recent days may have sealed his ultimate fate.
Ramirez was informed he had violated Major League Baseball's drug policy April 8 and, rather than face a 100-game suspension, he chose to retire.
He was on the Tampa Bay Rays' roster heading into the 2011 season.
MLB has taken many hits in recent seasons. This one, while somewhat surprising, shouldn't be.
In 2003, MLB conducted private drug testing of its players. While the list has never been completely issued to the public, it has been rumored Ramirez was among a group of more than 100 players who tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs.
In 2009, he was also suspended for 50 games for violating the policy after testing positive for human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), a women's fertility drug.
According to repots, hCG is sometimes used to restart natural testosterone production after a steroid cycle.
So this was essentially the third strike for Ramirez and rather than face the piper, he chose to leave the game.
Writers across the country who vote for Baseball Hall of Fame acceptance have already started weighing in, with many saying they will not vote for him.
He's not alone.
Ramirez joined a growing list of players who have been suspended from the game for alleged steroid use, including Rafael Palmeiro. Both players have hit more than 500 home runs in their career and Palmeiro also joined the 3,000-hit club.
Other players implicated in baseball's "Steroid Era" include Mark McGwire, Barry Bonds, Ivan Rodriguez, Roger Clemens, Alex Rodriguez, Mike Piazza, and Sammy Sosa, among many others.
All of these players have "Hall of Fame" numbers.
But it looks more and more likely that none of them will reach the Hall of Fame.
What's really sad about this is most of these players, more than likely, didn't need the extra boost from performance-enhancing drugs.
Take for example Ramirez.
A 12-time All-Star, he was also the World Series Most Valuable Player in 2004.
He went nine-straight years with 30 home runs and 100 runs batted in, tying him for the third-longest stretch in baseball history.
For his career, he ranks 14th in home runs with 555 and 18th in RBI with 1,831.
These are numbers that would guarantee Hall of Fame status.
But now, these numbers are just numbers.
They may not mean anything anymore.
Palmeiro finished his career with 569 homers and 3,020 hits while McGwire slugged 583 home runs.
Ivan Rodriguez has tallied 2,817 hits while Alex Rodriguez has hit 615 homers. Both still play professionally.
Piazza hit 427 homers in his career and Sosa finished with 609.
Clemens won 354 games and recorded 4,672 strikeouts.
As well, Bonds hit 762 home runs while driving in 1,996 runs and tallying 2,935 hits.
Ramirez, both Ivan and Alex Rodriguez, McGwire, Sosa, Bonds, Piazza and Clemens all finished with unbelievable career numbers. Most of these players started compiling big numbers even before the "Steroid Era" began.
All of these numbers, again, would have guaranteed Hall of Fame entry. But in this sentence, would is the operative word.
Most of these players may never see the Hall of Fame.
Unless they purchase a ticket.
Being a parent now, I hope someday when James David is older that he does have an interest in sports.
I played baseball with my father as a youngster and would love to play catch with James David, if he's interested in baseball.
Baseball, unlike other professional sports, has such a rich history; it's easy to remember the names.
From Hank Aaron to Babe Ruth. From Willie Mays to Lou Gehrig and Mickey Mantle. The list of names is endless.
However, with the "Steroid Era" now over, some of these players who were even implicated may be remembered.
For all the wrong reasons.