Back on the Train

I said I was tired of defending Manny, but sometimes it must be done.

Given the Jim Rice quote SF quoted below — the relevant portion of which is this phrase: [O]ver the last couple of years, he hasn’t been a leader and that’s not very good — one must assume there’s a reason why Ramirez’s leadership would be questioned. There must be tangible effects created by the void Ramirez’s lack of leadership has created for the teams on which he’s played. The results of those teams will surely bear this out:

  • 1994: 66-47, 2nd
  • 1995: 100-44, AL pennant
  • 1996: 99-62, AL Central
  • 1997: 86-75, AL pennant
  • 1998: 89-73, ALCS
  • 1999: 97-65, AL Central
  • 2000: 90-72, 2nd
  • 2001: 82-79, 2nd
  • 2002: 93-69, 2nd
  • 2003: 95-67, ALCS
  • 2004: 98-64, World Series
  • 2005: 95-67, Wild Card
  • 2006: 86-76, 3rd
  • 2007: 96-66, World Series


  • 14 seasons
  • 1,272-926 record
  • .579 winning percentage (94-68 one-season record)
  • Two world championships
  • Four AL pennants
  • Six ALCS appearances
  • Nine playoff appearances
  • 14 winning seasons

Imagine what they could have done if only Manny had been a leader.

But let’s not stop there. Let’s compare him to some other players, considered terrific leaders, all-around nice guys and likely Hall of Famers.

  • 1996: 92-70, World Series
  • 1997: 96-66, Wild Card
  • 1998: 114-48, World Series
  • 1999: 98-64, World Series
  • 2000: 87-74, World Series
  • 2001: 95-65, AL pennant
  • 2002: 103-58, AL East
  • 2003: 101-61, AL pennant
  • 2004: 101-61, ALCS
  • 2005: 95-67, AL East
  • 2006: 97-65, AL East
  • 2007: 84-68, Wild Card


  • 12 seasons
  • 1,163-767 record
  • .603 winning percentage (98-64 one-season record)
  • Four world championships
  • Six AL pennants
  • Seven ALCS appearances
  • 12 playoff appearances
  • 12 winning seasons

Here’s another:

  • 1989: 73-89, 6th
  • 1990: 77-85, 5th
  • 1991, 83-79, 5th
  • 1992: 64-98, 7th
  • 1993: 82-80, 4th
  • 1994: 49-63, 3rd
  • 1995: 79-66, ALCS
  • 1996: 85-76, 2nd
  • 1997: 90-72, AL West
  • 1998: 76-85, 3rd
  • 1999: 79-83, 3rd
  • 2000: 85-77, 2nd
  • 2001: 66-96, 5th
  • 2002: 78-84, 3rd
  • 2003: 69-93, 5th
  • 2004: 76-86, 4th
  • 2005: 73-89, 5th
  • 2006: 80-82, 3rd
  • 2007: 72-90, 5th


  • 19 seasons
  • 1,436-1,573
  • .477 winning percentage (77-85 one-season record)
  • Zero world championships
  • Zero pennants
  • One LCS appearance
  • Two playoff appearances
  • Six winning seasons

So, apparently Manny Ramirez’s absence of leadership is worth about four games per season (and two World Series rings) less than Derek Jeter’s intangibles, and 17 games per season (plus two rings) more than Ken Griffey Jr.’s graceful presence. All statistics should be adjusted accordingly.

8 comments… add one
  • Well, for Griffey, all he has is his leadship, considering he hasn’t played much the last 5 (?) or so years!

    Lar July 30, 2008, 11:52 am
  • Griffey’s actually played more in the last four years than in those awful 2002-04 seasons, at least 100 games each season and 140+ in 2005 and 2007. He’s already over 100 games for this season, as well. Of course, his performances has really fallen off the cliff. He’s basically league-average now.

    Paul SF July 30, 2008, 11:57 am
  • I mean these stats arent surprising but dont really say anything about Manny’s roll as a leader or not. Manny has played for great teams over the years both because of his own offensive presence and the skill of those around him. This makes no difference as to his leadership or lack thereof. I dont think Rice is denying his skills. Its not clear to me why he needs to be the leader on his teams anyway….

    Sam-YF July 30, 2008, 12:24 pm
  • Griffey has gotten hot lately too: in the last month he’s OPS’ing .916, and in the last 2 weeks it’s 1.076. I still have hopes that he could break the homerun record if he plays until he’s 44, with 25 homers a year. It’ll never happen, but until he retires I’ll hold onto my hope.

    Atheose July 30, 2008, 12:29 pm
  • as usual, rice misspoke…i like the guy, but he ain’t the best wordsmith around…i don’t think he meant that manny needs to be a leader per se, just less of an annoyance and embarrassment to the guys that have to make excuses for him…more of a teammate…yep, his stats and the sox success have overshadowed and made more tolerable his occasional lapses, but his recent tantrum smacks a bit of a “me first” attitude, and that’s what’s rubbing people the wrong way…i don’t think jeter or griffey have ever been accused of that particular flaw…remember guys, it’s a team game…i have little use for comparing guys who had the forture/misfortune of playing for good teams, a luxury that griffey had only a couple of times…nice stats though paul, but they omit the fact jeter had a little help from a guy named “mo”, and others whose names i can’t remember…manny may have had a little help too from guys like “mueller” or “millar”, or something like that…my memory’s a little fuzzy on stuff like that…or, maybe he did do it himself, as your stats show, and the sox should sign him to arod-type years and money…

    dc July 30, 2008, 1:23 pm
  • should say: “comparing team results for guys” and “good teams or not”
    preview, preview, preview

    dc July 30, 2008, 1:26 pm
  • Well, that’s the whole point, Sam. If Manny’s lack of leadership were a problem, it should be reflected somehow in the results. But, clearly, it’s not. Because ultimately how good a leader you are means nothing if you’re not surroounded by a great team or putting up good stats. And on a team with plenty of vocal leader types (Varitek, Lowell, etc.) it makes no sense to suddenly argue Manny should be a leader just because he’s good or played a long time.

    Paul SF July 30, 2008, 1:27 pm
  • Unfortunately, the results needed to assess potential damages from Manny’s alleged lack of leadership don’t exist- they’re counterfactual. One would have to figure out whether those good numbers you cite might have been better than they in fact were if only Manny had been a better leader.
    But it’s just speculation to imagine how they could have been better, or worse. I think the safer claim is that given the Sox’ success in recent years, Manny’s whatevers haven’t been so much a problem as to prevent that success.
    but everyone already knows that. This issue isn’t about data, it’s about perception and imagination, and symbolism. What being a leader means, independently of any facts about what did or didn’t actually happen. Some people think that sort of stuff is important, others think its tangential or entirely irrelevant.
    And some, like Rice, are just confused.

    Soxlosophy July 30, 2008, 4:50 pm

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