05/08/09 2:02 AM ET
A year in the life: Manny being Manny
A timeline of Ramirez's eventful last 365 days
By Doug Miller and Ken Gurnick / MLB.com
May 31, 2008: Ramirez hits his 500th career home run, belting a pitch from Orioles reliever Chad Bradford 410 feet over the wall at Camden Yards.
June 5, 2008: Ramirez and teammate Kevin Youkilis have to be separated after a heated dugout exchange in a 7-1 win over the Rays at Fenway Park.
June 28, 2008: Ramirez pushes long-time Red Sox traveling secretary Jack McCormick to the floor in the visitors' clubhouse in Houston following a spat over a ticket request.
July 14, 2008: Ramirez, voted in as a starting outfielder in the All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium, does not show up for media availability the day before the Midsummer Classic.
July 15, 2008: Batting fifth for the American League All-Star team, Ramirez goes 0-for-2 with a strikeout. His team eventually wins, 4-3, in 15 innings.
July 16, 2008: The Boston Herald publishes the following comments by Ramirez, who is wondering what the Red Sox will do about possibly picking up his $20 million options for 2009 and 2010: "I want to know what's my situation. I want no more [times] where they tell you one thing and behind your back they do another thing. I think I've earned that respect, for a team to sit down with me and tell me this is what we want, this is what we want to do."
July 17, 2008: Red Sox principal owner John W. Henry say he is offended by Ramirez's comments in the Herald and offers his own comments, e-mailing the newspaper with the following: "I find remarks that we have been anything other than completely straightforward to be personally offensive. Manny has been a crucial part of two World [Series] championships. I do not believe we would have won either without him. He has never played a more important role than he has thus far this year."
July 23, 2008: A few hours before a game in Seattle, Ramirez informs manager Terry Francona that his right knee has tightened up. Ramirez has the knee bandaged up in the hours leading up to the game, and although Ramirez has been bothered by right hamstring woes in recent weeks, the knee hasn't been any kind of issue since 2006, when he had meniscus problems. "He just showed up this morning. We were kind of, weren't ready for that," Francona says. "He came in and said, 'My right knee hurts.' There was nothing on the report last night. I didn't come in waiting for that one, so it must have gotten tight overnight."
July 25, 2008: Ramirez misses another game and meets with Henry, Red Sox chairman Tom Werner, general manager Theo Epstein and Francona about the confusion regarding the knee injury. Controversy continues to swirl in the media, with multiple outlets reporting that the Red Sox are contemplating disciplinary action -- perhaps even a suspension -- if Ramirez again makes himself unavailable the following day.
July 26, 2008: Ramirez pronounces himself fit to play after missing the past two games with right knee soreness and is greeted with boos at Fenway Park when public-address announcer Carl Beane announces his name during pregame introductions.
July 27, 2008: With the non-waiver Trade Deadline four days away, Ramirez says that he would waive his 10-5 rights (10 years in the Major Leagues, five with one team) if the club finds a suitable deal for him on the open market. "What I said was, if the Red Sox, if they think they could find a trade, you know, that's going to make their team better and both sides are going to be happy, I'm going to agree," Ramirez says, adding, "I know they've got me, but hey, enough is enough. I'm tired of them, they're tired of me. After 2008, just send me a letter or whatever, you don't even have to call my agent or whatever, 'Thank you for everything, you're going to become a free agent, we're not going to pick up your option in '09.'"
July 31, 2008: The Red Sox trade Ramirez to the Los Angeles Dodgers in a three-way deal also involving the Pittsburgh Pirates. Outfielder Jason Bay is shipped from Pittsburgh to Boston and the Pirates receive third baseman Andy LaRoche and Minor League pitcher Bryan Morris from the Dodgers along with and reliever Craig Hansen and Triple-A outfielder Brandon Moss from the Red Sox. The Red Sox agree to pay the $7 million remaining on Ramirez's $20 million salary for 2008, and the Dodgers agree to not pick up Ramirez's two $20 million club options for 2009 and '10, allowing him to become a free agent in November.
Aug. 1, 2008: In his first game as a Dodger, sporting uniform No. 99, Ramirez goes 2-for-4 as Los Angeles loses, 2-1, at home to the Arizona Diamondbacks. Ramirez hits into a double play with a runner on first and none out in the bottom of the ninth in front of a sellout crowd of 55,239.
Aug. 3, 2008: Ramirez goes 4-for-5 with a double, a homer and three RBIs in a 9-3 Dodgers win over Arizona, giving him a .615 batting average with two homers and five RBIs in his first three games in Los Angeles.
Aug. 11, 2008: During a game, Ramirez heads to the clubhouse at the end of the eighth inning and returns to the field late to start the ninth only after outfielder Juan Pierre and bench coach Bob Schaefer go looking for him. Ramirez jogs back to his position in left field with his jersey half-buttoned and later says he needed to use the restroom. Dodgers manager Joe Torre downplays it as a simple misunderstanding.
Aug. 14, 2008: Ramirez answers questions that have been building for weeks about cutting off his dreadlocks when he has an inch taken off the length of his hair at a Los Angeles barber shop.
Aug. 30, 2008: Ramirez helps the Dodgers snap an eight-game losing streak with a 4-for-5 night, including his 500th career double, and a pair of homers in Arizona. After going 4-for-4 with a pair of doubles and a walk the previous night, his eight consecutive hits fall one short of Ron Cey's 31-year-old Los Angeles record.
Sept. 10, 2008: Ramirez continues a sizzling September, slugging a pair of two-run homers to deep right-center field in PETCO Park, where hardly anyone hits one homer. His four RBIs pace the Dodgers to a 7-2 win over the Padres, extending their division lead to 3 1/2 games and trimming their magic number to clinch to 14. After this performance, Ramirez's numbers as a Dodger read as follows: .396 average, 14 homers and 40 RBIs in 38 games, with the Dodgers having gained 5 1/2 games in the standings since the trade.
Sept. 20, 2008: Ramirez hits two more homers and drives in five runs in a 3-for-4 night as the Dodgers beat the San Francisco Giants at home and trim their magic number to five. Ramirez is now hitting .404 with 16 homers, 13 doubles and 49 RBIs in 47 games since being traded to Los Angeles. In that time he leads the Majors in batting average, on-base percentage (.490) and slugging percentage (.760) and ranks among the leaders in homers.
Sept. 25, 2008: The Dodgers clinch the National League West title as Arizona is eliminated by St. Louis, and Ramirez addresses the crowd at Dodger Stadium: "What's going on, L.A.?" he says. "Thank you, all the L.A. fans for your support. Mannywood."
Oct. 1, 2008: Playing on the road against the heavily favored Chicago Cubs, the Dodgers take Game 1 of the NL Division Series, 7-2. Ramirez goes 2-for-4 with a homer -- his 25th career postseason long ball -- and an RBI in his first postseason game in the National League.
Oct. 2, 2008: The Dodgers again upset the Cubs in Wrigley Field, winning by a 10-3 score in Game 2 and setting up a possible Game 3 clincher in Los Angeles. Ramirez is in on the action again, homering off Carlos Zambrano in a 2-for-4, two-RBI performance.
Oct. 4, 2008: The Dodger complete a surprising sweep of the Cubs in the NLDS, beating Chicago, 3-1, at Dodger Stadium to advance to the NL Championship Series, where they'll meet the Philadelphia Phillies. Ramirez continues his postseason hitting streak, going 1-for-2 with two walks and a run scored.
Oct. 9, 2008: Ramirez goes 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI, but the Dodgers drop Game 1 of the NLCS to the Phillies, 3-2, at Citizens Bank Park.
Oct. 10, 2008: The Dodgers go down 0-2 in the NLCS with an 8-5 loss in Philadelphia. Ramirez hits a three-run home run in the fourth inning in a 1-for-4 night.
Oct. 12, 2008: Back in Los Angeles, the Dodgers give their home fans a treat with a Game 3 win by the score of 7-2. Ramirez goes 1-for-2 with two runs, an RBI and two walks.
Oct. 13, 2008: The Dodgers lose a heartbreaker to the Phillies by a score of 7-5. Ramirez continues to hit, going 2-for-2 with a double, an RBI and three walks.
Oct. 15, 2008: The Dodgers' season ends with a 5-1 loss in Philadelphia in Game 5 of the NLCS. Ramirez goes 2-for-3 with a homer off Cole Hamels and an RBI in his final game of the year. After the game, Ramirez discusses his free-agency strategy: "I want to see who is the highest bidder. Gas is up and so am I."
Oct. 30, 2008: Ramirez files for free agency.
Nov. 5, 2008: The Dodgers offer Ramirez a two-year deal worth $45 million, plus an option year at $15 million.
Nov. 14, 2008: The Dodgers withdraw the offer of two years, $45 million, plus an option year at $15 million, as their exclusive negotiating window expires. Ramirez never responded to the offer.
Nov. 17, 2008: Ramirez places fourth in NL MVP Award voting -- despite spending half the season in the American League.
Dec. 1, 2008: The Dodgers offer Ramirez salary arbitration.
Dec. 7, 2008: Ramirez does not accept the Dodgers' offer of salary arbitration.
Dec. 9, 2008: Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti and Ramirez's agent, Scott Boras, meet at the Winter Meetings, their first meeting in a month.
Dec. 31, 2008: Colletti and Boras exchange voicemails in an attempt to resume negotiations. They speak later in the week, opening a dialogue after nearly two months absent of negotiations.
Jan. 16, 2009: Coletti said "there's a dialogue" to describe negotiations with Boras.
Jan. 26, 2009: The Los Angeles Sports Council names Ramirez's trade to the Dodgers the top L.A. sports moment of 2008.
Feb. 1, 2009: The Dodgers make Ramirez an offer of one-year, $25 million.
Feb. 2, 2009: Ramirez rejects the offer of one-year, $25 million.
Feb. 7, 2009: Ramirez tells the Los Angeles Times "we're in the seventh inning and I'm waiting for my pitch."
Feb. 13, 2009: Colletti says, "there's been some progress made, but obviously not enough" to get Ramirez signed. Torre confirms he has had several phone calls with Ramirez in recent weeks assuring the outfielder that the club wants him back.
Feb. 14, 2009: The Dodgers open the new Camelback Ranch-Glendale Spring Training complex, saving an end locker in the clubhouse for Ramirez.
Feb. 21, 2009: Colletti says talks with Boras in the previous week were "more frequent and longer in duration."
Feb. 25, 2009: In a Dodger Stadium meeting of club chairman Frank McCourt, Colletti, Boras and associate Mike Fiore, the Dodgers offer Ramirez $25 million for 2009 and $20 million for 2010, then, at the request of Boras, make 2010 a player option.
Feb. 26-28, 2009: The Dodgers and Ramirez spend three days exchanging variations of the two-year, $45 million deal, with deferred compensation the sticking point.
March 4, 2009: Ramirez agrees to a two-year, $45 million contract, with $25 million deferred over five years and a player opt-out clause after one year.
March 12, 2009: Ramirez is scratched one hour before his long-anticipated spring debut because of a tight left hamstring.
March 13, 2009: Ramirez makes his exhibition debut, walking twice and hitting a single in three plate appearances.
March 15, 2009: Ramirez leaves a spring game early after aggravating his left hamstring injury.
March 18, 2009: Despite being held out of baseball action for at least a week because of the hamstring injury, Ramirez takes part in a promotion for DirecTV at Nichols Park in Gilbert, Ariz., home to the Arizona Cricket Club, hitting five of eight cricket pitches.
March 23, 2009: Ramirez returns to spring action after eight days off as designated hitter and goes 0-for-3 with two strikeouts and a double-play grounder against the Angels.
March 24, 2009: Ramirez hits his first home run of the spring against the Mariners.
April 6, 2009: The Dodgers beat the Padres, 4-1, in San Diego on Opening Day. Ramirez goes 0-for-3 with a run scored.
April 8, 2009: Ramirez goes 2-for-4 against the Padres and drives in three runs, his first RBIs of the season.
April 18, 2009: Ramirez hits his first home run of the year, a first-inning shot against the Colorado Rockies, and has now hit homers against all 30 active Major League clubs.
April 30, 2009: The Dodgers debut the "Mannywood" seating section in the Field Level on the fair side of the left-field foul pole, selling tickets in pairs with a Mannywood T-shirt for $99 -- the same number as Ramirez's uniform.
May 4, 2009: Ramirez hits a first-inning home run, his sixth of the season, drives in three runs, and the Dodgers go on to beat Arizona to begin the season with 11 straight home wins, setting a National League record. They are 34-9 at home since last year's All-Star break and 29-7 since Ramirez joined the team.
May 6, 2009: Ramirez doubles and drives in two runs as the Dodgers beat the Washington Nationals, 10-3, for their modern-day record 13th straight home victory.
May 7, 2009: Ramirez is suspended 50 games by Major League Baseball for performance-enhancing drug use.