Ramirez was picked by the Cleveland Indians in the 1991 Major League Baseball draft. The right-handed outfielder started out his career with the Burlington Indians, a team associated with the Cleveland Indians in the Appalachian League.
Ramirez made his major league debut with the Cleveland Indians in 1993. He soon proved to be one of the best hitters in league. He won the American League Silver Slugger Award in 1995. That same year, Ramirez made the All-Star Team for the first time—a honor he would achieve 11 more times during his career.
In 2001, Ramirez went to play for the Boston Red Sox 2001. He reached his best battling average the following year, becoming the top batter in the American League. Ramirez helped the Sox end an 86-year losing streak to become World Champions in a four-game World Series sweep against the St. Louis Cardinals in 2004. Ramirez was named the Series' Most Valuable Player that year.
Off the field, Ramirez was not happy with his team and its management. He asked to traded after the 2005 and 2006 seasons, but those requests were denied. The team management also had issues with Ramirez, frustrated by his occasional lack of hustle while running the bases or the outfield. Still he managed to help the Sox clinch another World Series victory against the Colorado Rockies in 2007. But the behind-the-scenes tension came to a head in 2008. Ramirez was involved in a dugout shoving match with teammate Kevin Youkilis and knocked down team traveling secretary Jack McCormick, 62, to the ground.
Ramirez was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers that July. "The Red Sox don't deserve a player like me,” Ramirez told ESPNdeportes the day before he was traded to the Dodgers. “During my years here I've seen how they have mistreated other great players when they didn't want them to try to turn the fans against them."
Despite his conflicts with the Boston front office, Ramirez was a wildly popular player among the fans. But he often raised eyebrows for his peculiar behavior which included playing left field with a water bottle in his back pocket and frequently disappearing into Fenway Park's Green Monster scoreboard during pitching changes.
Ramirez played for the Dodgers from 2008 to 2010 and then had brief stints with the Chicago White Sox and Tampa Bay Rays. In 2011, he retired from baseball after playing only five games for the Rays. His retirement came as news broke about Ramirez failing a drug test, reportedly testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug. Ramirez had already served a 50-game suspension for violating the league's drug policy in 2009.
Later in 2011, Ramirez worked out an agreement with Major League Baseball officials to return to the game. He only had to serve another 50-game suspension, not a 100-game suspension, which the usual penalty for a second drug offense. In 2012, Ramirez signed a deal with the Oakland Athletics, but his time with the team was short-lived.
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