Former Major League baseball great Manny Ramirez wants the world to know that he is no longer “Manny just being Manny,” the tag he earned during his antic-laden playing days.
The 47-year-old Ramirez was a superb hitter (lifetime .312 average) and a 12-time All-Star best known for his play with the Cleveland Indians and Boston Red Sox, with whom he won two World Series, in 2004 and 2007. His mostly humorous but sometimes self-indulgent antics eventually got him traded from Boston to the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2008.
But in an interview with the Boston Globe, Ramirez says his perspective has changed, and not just because he is older. Ramirez told the Globe he became a Christian several years ago and has been attending seminary and preaching the Gospel in small venues.
“What I’m doing now, I preach. That’s what I do. Go into hospitals just to preach and teach people the Bible,” Ramirez told the paper, describing himself as a “Reformed Baptist.”
“I went back to school because I wanted to be in a seminary just to learn. I’ve been doing that for five years now. It hasn’t been easy. It’s something that’s great. It’s changed my mind-set. I’m like a rookie. I’m just on the bench. Sometimes they give me 10 minutes or 15 minutes. And that’s it.”
Ramirez was in Boston Nov. 20 to be honored by the Boston Sports Museum, despite leaving the city on bad terms with his former team. During the 2008 season, Ramirez got into a fistfight in the Fenway Park dugout with teammate Kevin Youkilis, and on another occasion he shoved the team’s traveling secretary, 64-year-old Jake McCormack, to the ground during a disagreement over game tickets for Ramirez’s family and friends.
Ramirez said coming to Christ required humbling, which in turn opened his eyes to his sins and failures.
“With all the power and all the fame, if you don’t learn, you’re going to keep falling, worse and worse. And being in the wrong places at the wrong time. Thinking you can do whatever you want.”
Asked by the paper about his chances for the Baseball Hall of Fame, he admitted that he hopes to get that call someday, but there are greater things ahead than that.
“I’m going into another Hall of Fame. If you read the Bible, the Bible says that your name is going to be written in the Book of Life. So it’s going to be more impressive than this. Remember, when you die, you can’t take this with you.’’
Ramirez hit 555 home runs during his career, including a Major League record 29 postseason homers.
Photo: UPI/John Angelillo/Alamy Stock Photo