Manny Ramirez Begins New Career As Player-Coach
Manny Ramirez has been called everything from a World Series MVP to a cheater.
The 42-year-old Ramirez, a two-time champion with Boston and a two-time offender of Major League Baseball’s rules against performance-enhancing drugs, joined the Triple-A Iowa Cubs as a player/coach on Thursday after signing with Chicago in late May.
Ramirez is expected to play one or two times a week for the organization’s top affiliate in Des Moines. But Ramirez’s biggest responsibility will be to work with the Cubs’ most promising prospects — and he’s already got some simple advice for them.
“Do the right thing, bro. Follow the rules. That’s it,” Ramirez said Monday.
That was often a problem for Ramirez when he was starring in the big leagues.
Drama has always seemed to follow Ramirez, a happy-go-lucky but enigmatic slugger who clashed with managers, teammates and front office personnel during a 19-year major league career that included 555 home runs and 12 All-Star selections.
But Cubs president Theo Epstein, who spent years dealing with Ramirez as the general manager of the Red Sox, said Monday in an interview with Boston radio station WEEI that he believes Ramirez is a changed man.
“Manny gave me as many problems as he gave anyone, probably besides (former Red Sox manager Terry Francona) in his time in Boston. He’s responsible for most of the gray hairs on my head. So it’s not something that we entered into lightly,” Epstein said.