Ramirez wins World Series MVP
Posted: Thursday October 28, 2004 12:44AM; Updated: Thursday October 28, 2004 1:25AM
Ramirez and the Red Sox finished off a four-game sweep of St. Louis with a 3-0 victory Wednesday night, giving them their first World Series title since 1918.
"I never thought I'd get to be part of a World Series winner. But it's fun, let me tell you," Ramirez said. "Before we went to spring training, I told my wife ... I'm going to be the MVP of something. And I did it."
A feared hitter throughout his stellar career, Ramirez batted .412 (7-for-17) with a homer and four RBIs against the Cardinals, helping the Red Sox end 86 years of pain and futility.
Now his clutch performance in October will be remembered forever, from Kenmore Square in the heart of Boston to the mountains of Maine in upper New England.
That was the idea when then-general manager Dan Duquette signed Ramirez to a $160 million, eight-year deal in December 2000.
One of the best all-around hitters in recent memory, Ramirez put up prodigious power numbers during his first three seasons with the Red Sox. But his awful defense, deplorable baserunning and hefty contract prompted the team to place him on waivers last offseason.
The new front-office regime then tried to trade him to Texas for AL MVP Alex Rodriguez. The deal fell through, and Ramirez was back in left field this season, flubbing fly balls and hitting homers over the Green Monster at Fenway Park.
He won his first AL home run crown, connecting 43 times. He also led the league in slugging percentage (.613) and finished with 130 RBIs. But his absent-minded play kept skeptics wondering if he was really the guy to finally carry Boston to postseason glory.
But it's Ramirez who became a champion, earning every penny of that enormous contract. And now he has the MVP trophy every player really wants.
"Anything is possible," Ramirez said. "We proved we could win. We broke The Curse. I'm just so happy. I can't wait to go back home and celebrate."
The MVP was the second big honor of the night for Ramirez. Before the game, he and Barry Bonds received the 2004 Hank Aaron Award, recognizing the outstanding offensive player in each league. Ramirez also won with Cleveland in 1999, when he had 165 RBIs.
Ramirez hit safely in all 14 postseason games for the Red Sox, extending his streak to 17 postseason games overall, dating to last year. His third-inning single Wednesday night helped set up Trot Nixon's two-run double that made it 3-0.
"It's unbelievable," Ramirez said. "I've got two things on my mind that I want to accomplish before I'm done with this game. First one is to get the ring and the second is to get to the Hall of Fame. That's two things that nobody can take away from you."