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11/17/08 3:04 PM EST

Ramirez places fourth in NL MVP vote

Outfielder finishes one vote shy of third after torrid stint in LA

LOS ANGELES -- Free-agent outfielder Manny Ramirez spent only two months of the regular season in the National League as a Dodger, but his impact was so great that he finished fourth in the voting for the league's Most Valuable Player award.

Ramirez finished just one vote shy of third place, placing behind Milwaukee's Ryan Braun. Winner Albert Pujols and runner-up Ryan Howard were well in front with 369 and 308 points, respectively. Ramirez has never been higher than third in the MVP voting, despite nine top 10 finishes. He received no first-place votes from the baseball writers, with two second-place votes.

One can only imagine what could have been had he played the entire season in either league. He was acquired July 31 after wearing out his welcome in Boston and delivered one of the best final two months in baseball history.

In 53 games, he had 53 RBIs, slugging 17 homers and batting .396 with a .469 on-base percentage and a .743 slugging percentage. Since RBIs became an official statistic in 1920, only one Dodger (Duke Snider in 1953) had more homers, RBIs and a higher average in a 53-game span.

His .396 average was second highest for an in-season acquisition behind Cesar Cedeno, who hit .434 in 28 games in 1985. Ramirez's combined .332 average was third in baseball behind Chipper Jones (.364) and Pujols (.357), and he tied for fourth with 37 homers, was sixth with 121 RBIs, second with a .601 slugging percentage behind Pujols (.651) and fourth with a .430 on-base percentage.

Although it doesn't count for MVP consideration, Ramirez continued the onslaught in the postseason, going 13-for-25 with four homers and 10 RBIs in eight games. His 28 career postseason home runs are a Major League record.

He finished the season with 527 home runs, 17th on the all-time list, and 20th on the all-time RBI list with 1,725.

Ramirez now is a free agent. The Dodgers on Friday withdrew a two-year, $45 million offer with a third-year option for another $15 million, but club officials said negotiations are likely to resume.

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.