David Ortiz Vs. Manny Ramirez (Who Was Better?)

David Ortiz #34 of the Boston Red Sox laughs with Manny Ramirez and Pedro Martinez after the pregame ceremony to honor Ortiz's retirement before his last regular season home game at Fenway Park on October 2, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts.
(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)


Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz terrorized American League pitching for the better part of two decades, especially when they were with the Boston Red Sox.

They were especially successful during their time with the Red Sox in the 2000s.

Which one of these all-time greats is the better player?


The Case For Ortiz

Ortiz is widely regarded as one of the best designated hitters of our generation.

He retired with a .286/.380/.552 line, 541 home runs, and 1,768 RBI during an illustrious career.

He is a 10-time All-Star (2004–2008, 2010–2013, 2016), a three-time World Series champion (2004, 2007, 2013), a World Series MVP (2013), an ALCS MVP (2004), and a seven-time Silver Slugger Award winner.

He is eligible for the Hall of Fame for the first time.

In his favor is, additionally, his fantastic postseason career, in which he became a Red Sox hero.

Ramirez won two World Series, but Ortiz not only won three, but he was also the best player in that extra World Series (2013) in which they weren’t teammates.

He rarely played the field, and when he did, he was lousy at first base.

But Ramirez was an abysmal fielder, so he really shouldn’t have any advantage there.

Ortiz, unlike Manny, was never suspended for violations of the drug policy.

There is no substantial evidence he took steroids.


The Case For Ramirez

Ramirez has always been a controversial character, but boy, he could hit.

In fact, he was even better than Ortiz with a bat in his hands.

Ramirez retired from MLB with a career .312/.411/.585 line, 555 home runs, and 1831 RBI.

He was elite in the nineties with the Cleveland Indians and in the 2000s with the Red Sox and the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Ramirez was also a star in postseason play, much like Ortiz.

In fact, Manny has the record for most postseason home runs, with 29, and the second-ranked player has 23.

Using the wRC+ stat (weighted Runs Created Plus), we have Ramirez with a 153 mark, meaning he performed 53 percent better than the average.

Ortiz checks in at 140 wRC+ for his career, or 40 percent better than his peers.

The problem with Ramirez is that he was busted using steroids, and suspended – twice.

First, he was suspended for 50 games in 2009 for taking human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG).

Then, in 2011, Ramirez was once again suspended, this time for 100 games.

Eventually, the second suspension was reduced.


The Verdict

Ortiz and Ramirez were very similar in many ways.

Both were powerful sluggers with the ability to hit for average, too, and could change the outcome of any game at any time with their bat.

They were both very bad with a glove on their hand, and God-like in the playoffs.

Ramirez is the better of the two, albeit slightly.

However, he is a proven PED user, whereas no one has been able to demonstrate Ortiz took any substances.

Use that information as you wish when you compare these two all-time greats.

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