I’ve been enjoying the new book Becoming Manny by Jean Rhodes and Shawn Boburg. The book is surprisingly objective for an authorized Manny Ramirez biography.
As you know, Manny was drafted 13th overall in 1991 by the Indians. The Yankees, Braves, Twins, Cardinals, Brewers, Astros, Royals, Padres, Orioles, Phillies, Mariners, and Cubs passed on him. Many teams did not view Manny as a first-round pick, partially because he didn’t speak English well and had not graduated high school. The book also suggests that scouts simply did not enjoy driving out to areas like Washington Heights to watch prospects.
Old school Twins scout Herb Stein recommended Manny, though. From the book:
Stein pushed the Twins to take Manny with their third overall pick. But he was rebuffed by his bosses – a source of bitterness even today. The Twins chose Stanford first baseman David McCarty, who wound up hitting 36 career home runs and batting .242 in eleven major league seasons of part-time duty.
The Mariners also made a run:
Manny was playing a Youth Service League doubleheader. In a late show of interest, the Seattle Mariners’ top scout and assistant to the general manager attended. DeLuca [the scout who signed Manny for Cleveland] felt a wave of panic. After the game, Seattle’s reps talked to [Manny’s coach Mel] Zitter for ten minutes on the right-field line. They passed DeLuca on their way to the parking lot, exchanged greetings and said, "Good luck"- shorthand, DeLuca believed, for, "We’re going to pass on Manny. He’s all yours."
Manny wasn’t even a lock for the Indians. They wanted a pitcher:
Indians general manager Hank Peters and director of player development Dan O’Dowd had been pressuring [scouting director Mickey] White all winter to pursue college pitcher Aaron Sele, a six-three right-hander from Washington State.
Eventually, DeLuca and White were able to convince Indians director of baseball operations John Hart to recommend Ramirez. Sele would go to the Red Sox at #23.