Hanley Ramirez life and biography

Hanley Ramirez picture, image, poster

Hanley Ramirez biography

Date of birth : 1983-12-23
Date of death : -
Birthplace : Samana, Dominican Republic
Nationality : Dominican
Category : Sports
Last modified : 2010-11-10
Credited as : Baseball player MLB, shortstop with the Florida Marlins,

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Hanley Ramirez was born on December 23, 1983 in Samana, Dominican Republic. His father, Toribio, fixed cars for a living. He was a quiet, well-liked man. Hanley’s fire came from his mother, Isabel, who was always laughing and joking around.

Like many young Dominican boys, Hanley was passionate about baseball. He dreamed of playing shortstop like Tony Fernandez and hitting homers like Pedro Guerrero. The only difference was that Hanley actually did. He was a big kid with a powerful arm and potent bat. At age five, in his first season of organized play, he led his league in home runs—and still has the plastic trophy to prove it.

Hanley’s father saw how happy baseball made his son. Over the years, he and his wife made whatever sacrifices they had to in order to keep him moving up the ladder—as long as he kept up with his schoolwork. Their dream for Hanley was to one day study engineering, but he kept getting better and better at baseball.

Hanley started attracting the attention of scouts around the age of 15. He found the whole process curious. Why did they care? It was only when one of the other boys explained that you could get paid a lot of money for being a baseball player in the United States that Hanley began to see the game as a career. Another boy from Samana, Fernando Rodney, signed a deal with the Detroit Tigers. Suddenly, playing ball for a living didn't seem so crazy.

Hanley’s biggest fan was Boston scout Levy Ochoa, who saw a five-tool player waiting to blossom. Hanley signed with the Red Sox for $55,000 in July of 2000.
He joined their team in the Dominican Summer League the following year. At age 17, he batted well over .400. He and Alberto Callaspo were the league’s top two shortstops. It was around this time that Hanley set a goal for himself—he would buy his parents a house on the same street as Pedro Martinez, the man he hoped to play next to on the Red Sox one day.

Hanley found himself in Florida in 2002 as a member of the Ft. Myers Red Sox. batted .341 with 20 extra-base hits in 45 games against Gulf Coast League hurlers. Hanley finshed the season with the Lowell Spinners of the NY-Penn League, where he posted a .371 average in 22 games.

ON THE RISE

The 2003 season found Hanley at shortstop for the Augusta Green Jackets of the Class-A South Atlantic League. Playing for former major leaguer Russ Morman, Hanley batted .275 and swiped a team-best 36 bases. The club finished in last place, but Hanley was every bit as good as super prospect B. J. Upton, who starred for the Charleston River Dogs. The only black mark on Hanley’s season was a 10-game suspension leveled after he gave his own dugout the one-finger peace sign during a game. He was still a kid and obviously needed some maturing.

In 2004, Hanley spent most of the year at Class-A Sarasota, where he hit a solid .310. After a much deserved promotion, he played the final month with the Portland Sea Dogs and matched his .310 average. The power the Red Sox hoped would develop was still missing, however, as Hanley hit just six homers at both stops.

Hanley returned to the Dominican Republic and tore it up in winter ball. David Ortiz, who played against him, told his teammates that Hanley was major-league ready when he arrived in camp. The youngster certainly looked the part—he now stood a rock-solid 6-3 and weighed just a shade under 200 pounds.

Hanley trained with the big leaguers for the first time and spent hour after hour hanging around the cage, watching the Red Sox sluggers and asking for tips. He knew his days in the organization might be numbered, given that he was now stuck behind Edgar Renteria, whom Boston had signed to a four-year, $40 million contract that winter. Indeed, the team's plan was to let Hanley percolate in the minors until the trade deadline neared in July, at which point the club would swap him for the piece they needed to compete in the playoffs.

Hanley said all the right things to stay in a Boston uniform, including volunteering to plat second base. But he was too good a shortstop to use on that side of the bag. After hitting at a .389 clip against major-league arms, Hanley was shipped to Boston’s minor league complex.

Hanley opened the year with the Sea Dogs, playing alongside Dustion Pedroia, Boston's top pick in the 2004 draft. Pedroia, a shortstop for Arizona State, moved to second. Hanly hit .271 with a lot of speed and enough pop to keep the organization happy. He looked ready for the big leagues.

That summer, Red Sox Nation was practically drooling at the thought of Hanley's promotion to the big club. A sore back kept his stats down somewhat, but when he spent a couple of off-days sightseeing in Boston that July, the rumor mill began churning wildly. With Johnny Damon in the walk year of his contract, there was talk that Hanley might be the Bosox centerfielder in 2006.

Later in the month, the Sea Dogs moved Hanley to second base for a week. Boston’s Mark Bellhorn was barely over the Mendoza line and wasn't showing much with the glove, either. The Bosox fans began chattering again. It took a September injury to Kevin Youkilis, however, to clear the way for Hanley’s long-awaited cup of coffee. He played two weeks in September, got two at-bats and whiffed both times.

Hanley went into the off-season wondering what his address would be come the '06 campaign. He did not have to wait long. On Thanksgiving the Red Sox and Marlins consummated a deal that sent Hanley and pitching prospect Anibal Sanchez to Florida in exchange for Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell.

MAKING HIS MARK

Hanley had a good spring with the Marlins and won the starting job at short. He got off to a .400 start in early April but stumbled badly in June. At one point, he was hitless in 29 straight at-bats.

Hanley got back into a groove in August and September, batting .341 in the final two months and keeping the Marlins within sniffing distance of a Wild Card berth. They faded over the season’s last 10 days, however, and finished 78–84.

Hanley was part of a remarkable young team in Florida that year. To his right was Miguel Cabrera, an MVP candidate at age 23. To his left was second baseman Dan Uggla, who was snapped up in the Rule 5 draft after a sensational year at Double-A for the Arizona Diamondbacks. Cabrera batted a robust .339 with 50 doubles, 26 home runs and 114 RBIs. Uggla, meanwhil, hit for average and power all summer long and held his own at second base. He and Hanley became great friends. Completing the infield was another rookie, Mike Jacobs, picked up from the Mets during the team's Carlos Delgado salary dump. He proved a capable middle-of the-lineup hitter.

On the mound, Josh Johnson was among the NL’s stingiest starters, while staff veteran Dontrelle Willis anchored the rotation. Sanchez, Hanley’s old Boston teammate, joined the Marlins midway through the season and threw a no-hitter.

In the end, though, it was Hanley who stood out as the Marlins’ prize rookie. He had beefed up another 10 pounds or so and found his power stroke, blasting 46 doubles, 11 triples and 17 home runs. He also swiped 51 bases. Hanley settled into the leadoff spot and finished the year at .292.

Six weeks after Florida’s season ended, Hanley got the news that he had been named N.L. Rookie of the Year. He edged Ryan Zimmerman and Uggla for the honor. Uggla ended up setting a record for home runs by a rookie second baseman with 27, but he had a horrible September, which may have tilted voters in Hanley’s favor. Johnson, whose season ended early with a sore arm, finished fourth.

Hanley began the 2007 season hoping to improve on his Rookie of the Year numbers, something that he was constantly reminded almost never happens. He fashioned a two-word response that shut up his critics: Ryan Howard.

In a past era, a shortstop with Hanley’s combination of speed and power would have caused a sensation. These days, it happens so frequently that fans forget how special it is. If Hanley can actually pull off a "Howard" and follow a good year with a monster one, the Marlins might do something sensational themselves.

HANLEY THE PLAYER

Hanley surprised many with his home run output as a rookie. The power surge came courtesy of a quick, powerful stroke that he honed over the winter of 2005-06. Prior to that he had a longer swing and rarely hit the ball on the screws.

Hanley’s days as a leadoff hitter are ultimately numbered. He is the best base stealer on the Marlins, but as his lively bat gains more power, the organization has him pegged as a 3-4-5 hitter.

Hanley has good range in the field and a very strong arm. It is not out of the question that he could string together a run of Gold Gloves someday.

What defines Hanley is his love for the game. He truly seems to relish every moment he is at the ballpark. That has turned him into a young leader on the Marlins.

EXTRA

# Hanley played in the 2005 Futures Game in Detroit and picked up a hit.
# Hanley was the youngest player in the 2005 Eastern League All-Star Game.
# In 2006, Hanley became the first Florida position player to win Rookie of the Year. Pitcher Dontrelle Willis was the first Marlin to claim the award, in 2003. Hanley received 105 points in the '06 balloting. Ryan Zimmerman finished second with 101.
# Hanley’s 0-for-29 streak in 2006 fell one short of the team record, set by Brad Penny in 2000.
# Hanley’s 119 runs scored in 2006 were the most by an N.L. rookie since Dick Allen in 1964.
# Hanley hit his first two major league homers against the Cincinnati Reds on April 18, 2006. Both came off Eric Milton. He was the second Marlins leadoff hitter to hit two home runs in a game. The first was Devon White.

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