It was quite a shock when Major League Baseball abruptly announced the retirement of Manny Ramirez yesterday, and by now you know the circumstances of his decision. Manny tested positive for a banned substance and instead of going through the appeal and suspension processes, he called it quits. It was his second positive test, so he would have faced a 100-game suspension.
Ramirez's career started in 1993, though he wasn't a full-time player until 1995. He's a .312/.411/.585 career hitter with 555 homers and 1,831 RBI. His six-year peak from 1999-2004 (ages 27-32) featured a .327/.428/.633 batting line and a 168 OPS+. Although he never won an MVP, Manny has four top-four finishes in the voting and nine top-ten finishes. He was a 12-time All-Star, a two-time Hank Aaron Award winner (given to the top hitter in the league as voted on by the fans), and the MVP of the 2004 World Series.
As a player, Ramiez's Hall of Fame credentials are undeniable. He was no worse than one of the five best hitters of his generation, having enough of an impact with the bat to negate his poor defense. But he's also the only big leaguer to ever test positive for banned substances on two occasions, putting some of his accomplishments in question. We have to look no further than Mark McGwire to see how the Hall of Fame voters feel about banned substances, but what about you?