When you think of the all-time great Florida/Miami Marlins players, there are a few names that come to mind. One of those is Giancarlo Stanton, who was one of the most exciting players in the last decade. He had the power hit baseballs to Boca Raton. Dan Uggla was another fantastic Marlin. However, since he eventually left for the Atlanta Braves, some forget that he was a fantastic Marlin.
On the other hand, it’s impossible to forget the late great José Fernández, who tragically passed away. Fernández was an amazing talent and had his whole career ahead of him. He was on pace to be one of the greatest Marlin pitchers of all time. He was one of the most gifted pitchers to ever play the game. You have guys like Miguel Cabrera, Josh Johnson, Dontrelle Willis, and more. Then you have another name, belonging to the most underrated Marlin of them all: Hanley Ramirez.
If you watched SportsCenter’s Top 10 plays at the end of the day, or before heading off to school or work, there was a good chance you would see a Ramirez highlight. Ramirez didn’t start his career in Florida. He was drafted by the Boston Red Sox, appearing in two games for them late in 2005. That offseason, he was traded to the then-Florida Marlins.
Hanley’s Sizzling Start
How did Ramirez respond after being moved to South Beach? Well, he adjusted pretty easily, as he went on to win the 2006 NL Rookie of the Year Award. That year, he put up a .292 average and stole 51 bases. He was even better the next season, putting up incredible numbers. In 2007, he batted .332 with 29 home runs, 81 RBI, and another 51 steals. Many argue that he should have been an All-Star this season, which is definitely a valid argument.
The next phase of Ramirez’s career, from 2008 to 2010, would be his finest. His best season came in 2009. He batted .342 with 24 home runs and 106 RBI. The .342 clip won him the NL batting title. He finished second in the NL MVP Award voting, just behind future Hall of Famer Albert Pujols. Ramirez looked like a future Hall of Famer himself between 2006 and 2010. He won two Silver Slugger Awards in that period.
Hanley Ramirez’s #Marlins SS records:
– Career HR (134), Hits (1,016), RBI (434), Runs (617), SB (216), AVG (.306), OBP (.380), BB (369), & TB (1,680)
– Season HR (33), Hits (212), RBI (106), Runs (125), SB (51), AVG (.342), OBP (.410), BB (92), & TB (359)pic.twitter.com/2PXr9ULDXU
— Pro Sports Outlook (@PSO_Sports) October 17, 2022
Ramirez’s last few seasons with the Marlins were not bad, but they just weren’t up to the standard that he previously established. He stayed batting around .250, which was far below his usual output dating to his rookie year. Ramirez was eventually traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2012, ending his Marlins tenure. He continued his career with the Dodgers, Red Sox, and Cleveland Indians, playing his last game in 2019.
Hanley Ramirez: The Most Underrated Marlin
So why does Ramirez’s tenure in Florida now seem like an afterthought? Well, it is likely because he was honestly one of the few good players on those Marlins teams. They had Josh Johnson throwing on the mound, but hitting-wise, he was the best Marlin, and it was not very close. It was easy for him to stand out in the lineup in those days. However, he could never quite carry the roster back to the postseason.
That could be why it’s easy to forget his great seasons like 2009. The Marlins never had a chance to win it all. Instead, they sat at home and watched other teams each October. But we should not discredit Ramirez because he could not help a bad roster into the postseason. We should remember him for all his contributions to Marlins baseball. Hanley was one of the elite hitters in the National League during his time in Florida. He would carry bad Marlin teams on his back. It is certainly time for the Marlins to honor Hanley Ramirez in some capacity so that future generations of Marlin fans can know about their most underrated player, as well as one of their best of the 2000s.
Photo Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports