Ramirez to Ramirez: A Brief History

On Sunday, with two outs in the bottom of the seventh, Boston reliever Noe Ramirez fielded a comebacker off the bat of Toronto center fielder Kevin Pillar. He flipped it to Hanley Ramirez for the putout. It wasn’t a particularly momentous occasion, but it got me thinking — was this the first ever Ramirez to Ramirez putout in major-league history? I probably would have let it go right there (I’m pretty lazy, after all) but Jim Reedy pointed out that there have only been 29 Ramirezes in major-league history, and that didn’t seem like to daunting of a number. So I dove in.

To be honest, I was surprised there have only been 29 Ramirezes. I suppose growing up in Boston, I’m too used to seeing a “Ramirez” in the starting lineup to have an objective viewpoint on the matter. But while there have been just 29 Ramirezes, they stretch back a number of years. The first Ramirez — Milt Ramirez — debuted with the Cardinals back in 1970. In the meantime, there’s been at least one Ramirez in the majors every year since 1979. The high-water mark came in 2008, when 10 Ramirezes played in the majors. Of the 29 total, 16 have been pitchers, eight have been infielders, four have been outfielders and one has been a catcher. There have been two Erasmos, two Joses and two Ramons. Some have been teammates. Before we go any further, let’s take a look at the full timeline of Ramirezes:

Many, many thanks to Sean Dolinar for whipping up this awesome graphic.

As you can see, there have been several pairs of Ramirezes who have been teammates — eight to be precise. Let’s have a look.

Right off the bat, we can eliminate the two pairings where the teammates were both pitchers — Ramon E. Ramirez and Horacio Ramirez with the 2008 Royals, and the same Ramon E. Ramirez with Elvin Ramirez with the 2012 Mets. So we’re down now to six.

The first pair, Manny Ramirez and Alex Ramirez, couldn’t have recorded a putout together, as Alex only played left field, right field or designated hitter, and Manny only played right field and DH. While I checked most of these by going through each game log, I didn’t here. I have seen many baseball things, but never a putout that involved a right fielder and a left fielder. If such a thing had happened, I assume we all would remember it to this day. Especially in Manny’s case, since there was that one time when he tried to execute a center field to left field putout

After Alex left Manny, he landed with Aramis Ramirez, via a trade that sent Alex and Enrique Wilson to Pittsburgh in exchange for Wil Cordero. Alex and Aramis shared the diamond for about a month in 2000, before Aramis was lost to injury at the end of August. Sometimes, they hit back-to-back in the batting order. With Alex stationed in right field, and Aramis playing a third base, here we have our first Ramirez-to-Ramirez connection. On Aug. 4, 2000, Alex started a relay that went to Wilson and finished with Aramis, erasing Jeff Kent at third, who was trying to stretch a leadoff double into a triple. Tsk, tsk, Jeff. While not a 100% Ramirez-to-Ramirez connection, this is pretty darn close.

Manny and Hanley Ramirez would have been the best ever Ramirez-to-Ramirez connection with the 2005 Red Sox, but alas, they never shared the diamond. Hanley made appearances in two games in 2005, but Manny was absent from the lineup both times. In the first game, Manny came out in the bottom of the 6th, as the Sox were already ahead 13-2 — thanks in large part to Manny’s 4-for-4 day. Hanley pinch hit in the 7th. In the second, Manny was lifted for a pinch runner in the 6th, after going 2-for-2 with 2 walks. Hanley came in as a pinch hitter five batters later. So close!

In 2008, Horacio left Ramon when he was traded to the White Sox, where he shared the field plenty with Alexei Ramirez over the final two months of the season (the return to Kansas City, interestingly, was Paulo Orlando — the Royals got the better of this deal, though it took awhile for them to realize it). Unfortunately, Horacio never fielded a comebacker that he could toss to second base. No putout there.

Alexei would once again become teammates with a Ramirez in 2010, when Manny was shipped to the South Side from the Dodgers. Unfortunately, Manny served exclusively as a DH and pinch hitter for the White Sox.

Which brings us back to the present. Last year, Noe and Hanley appeared in three games together, but Hanley was in left field. Again, I’ve seen plenty of baseball things, but left field to pitcher putouts are not one of them. Maybe someday. I did check all three of these games, for what it’s worth, just to be sure. This leaves Sunday’s comebacker as the first pure Ramirez-to-Ramirez putout in major-league history. It was a long time coming.

Paul Swydan used to be the managing editor of The Hardball Times, a writer and editor for FanGraphs and a writer for Boston.com and The Boston Globe. Now, he owns The Silver Unicorn Bookstore, an independent bookstore in Acton, Mass. Follow him on Twitter @Swydan. Follow the store @SilUnicornActon.

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