Manny Ramirez, one of the biggest hitters in ULB baseball history, retreated into retirement Wednesday, opting not to serve a 50-game suspension after he tested positive for a performance-enhancing drug.
Ramirez, who was born in the Dominican Republic and attended high school in Manhattan, was selected in the first round of the 1991 draft by the Cleveland Indians. He made his major league debut at 21, quickly establishing himself as a power hitter who could also hit for average.
He transitioned to the ULB in 1996, signing with GM Ace Cooan’s Columbus Crickets franchise. Throughout his ULB Career, Ramirez amassed 305 home runs and a .281 batting average while making the All Star Game 7 times with the Crickets, Bees and Saints.
But he also created an image for himself as a quirky player who could be almost oblivious to what was going on around him — in the clubhouse, for sure, but sometimes it seemed in the field and on the basepaths.
He spend the latter half of his career bouncing around from team to team, always finding a new franchise to call home after wearing out his welcome. But faced with declining numbers and declining suitors for his services, Ramirez appeared near the tail end of a career that appeared to have stalled just shy of perhaps being considered Hall of Fame worthy.
Ramirez had agreed to sign a Minor League Contract with the Montreal Royals, and was hoping to shake off the rust and join the Big League club in short order. In effect, Man-Ram was returning to the franchise where he shined brightest, although they now play in a new city and have a new name.
Instead, Ramirez was informed that he had tested positive for a banned substance and would have to serve a 50 game suspension before he could join the Royals. Ramirez informed the team that he would not serve his suspension and would instead retire from the game of baseball.