|Game 58: May 31, 2008|
|Red Sox||6||W: David Aardsma (2-1)
H: Hideki Okajima (11)
S: Jonathan Papelbon (16)
|34-24, 2 game winning streak|
|Orioles||3||BS, L: Lance Cormier (1, 0-2)||26-28, 3 game losing streak|
|Highlights: Five hundred home runs for Manny Ramirez. Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz also homered; their consecutive four-baggers in the third tied the score. The evening was somewhat dampened with David Ortiz’s departure in the ninth, but x-rays were negative and the designated hitter was diagnosed with a sprained left wrist. Defensive replacement Alex Cora tandemed with Pedroia for a nifty double play to end the game and get Papelbon out of a spot of trouble.|
A player deemed not to have class by many entered an elite class comprised of very few last night.
Manny Ramirez is the 24th player to hit 500 hundred home runs. The Boston Globe, NESN, and ESPN provided extensive supporting trivia that affirms that Ramirez is not merely good but great, and Baseball Reference Play Index’s report of Ramirez’s 500 home runs makes for hours of diversion:
- He is the third player to hit his 500th in a Red Sox uniform, joining Jimmie Foxx and Ted Williams. For 264 of them Ramirez wore a Red Sox uniform and 135 dingers were launched at Fenway Park.
- Eddie Murray and Frank Robinson also hit their 500th homers in Baltimore, but theirs came in Memorial Stadium and they were garbed in home whites.
- It took Ramirez 7,263 at bats, making him the eighth fastest to attain this milestone.
- The tape measure shot went 410 feet to the waiting hands of brothers Damon and Jason Woo, New England expatriates living in Manhattan and Washington D.C. respectively. (Technically, it hit Damon’s neck.)
- His belated birthday gift to himself made him the 12th youngest to attain this feat.
- His career batting average of .312 trails only Ted Williams (.344), Babe Ruth (.342), and Jimmie Foxx (.325) for members of the 500 club.
- Jamie Moyer has been most victimized amongst the 324 pitchers Ramirez has homered off of, surrendering 10. That’ll happen if you hang around the MLB for 22 years. Mike Mussina (9) and Tanyon Sturtze (8) round out Ramirez’s favorite three targets.
In the context of the game, Ramirez’s home run added to a one-run lead secured by David Ortiz’s sacrifice fly to plate Jacoby Ellsbury. To begin the home half of the seventh, the Camden Yards crew wheeled out their usual shtick, displaying “A treat for you Red Sox fans...” on the screen and playing “Sweet Caroline.” Like clockwork, the tune abruptly stopped and the Orioles gang flashed an impudent “Not!” on the Jumbotron. Jerry Remy thought it was a tribute to Ramirez, but in reality it was a puerile prank that actually acknowledges the preponderance of Boston fans in Baltimore.
In the context of history, the Red Sox again join arm-in-arm with an all-time great on his walk into the Hall of Fame. Unlike the impending orchestrations surrounding Alex Rodriguez’s presumptive toppling of Barry Bonds, Ramirez carries his own among the sport’s aristocracy but never puts on airs. Manny will high-five fans along his way to Cooperstown; for him this is a culmination of his love and devotion to the game, not a line item on a marketing venture.