Manny Ramirez is one of Major League Baseball’s most prolific yet controversial players. To date, he has had twelve All-Star Game appearances, nine Silver Slugger awards, and his 21 grand slams place him third on the all-time list. He is one of only 25 players to hit over five hundred home runs over his career, and he has hit 28 post-season homers, more than any other player in Major League Baseball history.
Yet his career has also been marred by scandal. In 2003, Ramirez allegedly tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs. In 2009, he was suspended for fifty games for taking a drug known to restart testosterone production after steroid usage, and in 2011, he was found in violation again and opted to retire rather than face a potentially positive drug test, although he was reinstated with a fifty game suspension.
Although many baseball fans know about Manny’s incredible achievements as well as his shortcomings, many fans are unfamiliar with his background. Before he played for the Indians, Red Sox, Dodgers, White Sox, Devil Rays, and currently the A’s, Manny was a George Washington Trojan.
Ramirez was born in Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. His family would later move to New York City, specifically to the Washington Heights neighborhood far on the Upper West Side. Washington Heights was a neighborhood full of Dominican immigrants, and still maintains a strong Dominican presence today.
Manny attended George Washington High School and played for the Trojans baseball team. Even then, his stat-line and skill level were unbelievable. Ramirez made the All-City baseball team three years, and as a senior in 1991 he was crowned with the title of New York City Public School Player of the Year. That year, he batted an unheard of .650, including 14 home runs in just 22 games. He was known as an extremely talented, yet humble kid who just wanted to hang out with his teammates.
Ramirez would not graduate from George Washington High School, because at the age of just 19 years old, he was drafted with the 13th pick in the first round of the MLB draft by the Cleveland Indians and was signed with a $250,000 bonus. He would get called up to the major leagues in 1993, and was awarded the runner up for Rookie of the Year.