Retired superstar Manny Ramirez made some interesting remarks about Derek Jeter during the NESN broadcast of Monday night’s Red Sox-Tigers game at Fenway Park.
Ramirez was at Fenway to be inducted into the Red Sox Hall of Fame and stopped by the booth afterwards where he made seemed to insinuate that Derek Jeter would not have achieved the same level of recognition playing in a different city.
During a conversation with former players Kevin Millar and Dennis Eckersley, Ramirez discussed Jeter’s career by stating: "It’s like if you put Jeter in Kansas City in those years, he was just a regular player."
Both players had tremendous MLB careers, with the Yankees legend and first ballot Hall of Famer accumulating nearly 3,500 hits, 1,923 runs and a .310 career batting average. Not to mention his famously clutch postseason exploits that earned him the nickname "Mr. November."
Ramirez meanwhile, has not been elected into the Hall due to multiple suspensions for violating the league’s drug policy. But his career was no less exemplary, with 555 home runs, .414 on base percentage, and batting line 55% better than league average.
While it appeared to be a shot at Jeter’s ability, the broader context of the quote is more a commentary on the relative pressure of playing in Boston or New York:
"You gotta understand this. If you haven’t played in Boston or New York, you’re not in the big leagues," he said.
Ramirez doesn’t really have a point though; while Boston and New York might generate more media attention, there are plenty of major markets with pressure to win. Expectations are often high in Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles or Philadelphia, for example.
Mike Trout is no less a superstar in Anaheim than Ramirez was in Boston, and implying that only those two cities constitute the "big leagues" is simply not realistic given the success achieved in cities like Atlanta.
At the very least though, at least Ramirez wasn’t impugning the career of Derek Jeter by not showing him the proper amount of RE2PECT.