In the wake of the news of the sudden and sad departure from Major League Baseball by Manny Ramirez, there will no doubt be many articles, op-ed pieces and columns regarding Ramirez and his place in baseball history.

In the past decade, baseball has without question gone through a very dark history. The Mitchell Report, detailing the use of anabolic steroids and human growth hormone (HGH) in Major League Baseball, was commissioned by Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig in March 2005. After a 21-month investigation, Mitchell, a former senator and federal prosecutor, submitted a 409-page report, detailing 89 MLB players who are alleged to have used steroids or other performance-enhancing drugs.

While Ramirez was not specifically named in the Mitchell Report, he was one of the names leaked from a list of players who allegedly tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs in 2003. It’s important to note that this list was never officially confirmed, and the list was in fact seized and then leaked illegally to certain media publications.

However, in 2009, Ramirez was suspended by Major League Baseball for violating their drug policy. Ramirez was found to have high levels of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG); a women’s fertility drug typically used by steroid users to restart their body’s natural testosterone production as they come off a steroid cycle.

There is absolutely no doubt that Manny Ramirez was one of the most feared right-handed hitters in the game during the mid-1990s and 2000s. His 555 home runs rank 14th all-time, his 21 career grand-slam home runs rank second only to the great Lou Gehrig, and no one in baseball history has hit more postseason home runs than Ramirez (28).

A 12-time All-Star and nine-time Silver Slugger award winner, Ramirez was adept at hitting mistake pitches. Although known to be quirky and aloof, it was also widely known that Manny had a voracious appetite for studying the science of hitting, often arriving at the ballpark many hours before his teammates to work on his signature.

However, there is one glaring fact that can never be ignored. Manny CHEATED.

He didn’t just cheat once, as was indicated with his suspension by MLB in 2009. He got caught twice, with the current allegations being investigated by Major League Baseball which led to Manny’s sudden retirement announcement.

We have had to learn a tremendous amount of knowledge concerning performance-enhancing drugs, anabolic steroids, Human Growth Hormone, the Cream, the Clear, masking agents and many other terms because of the drug scandal that has consumed baseball over the past ten seasons.

Many of the players who broke recent records (Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, Roger Clemens) have all been accused of taking performance-enhancing drugs. While I won’t detail the allegations or say whether they’re true or false, they have tarnished their images and have caused irreparable damageto the point that it could very well keep them from getting into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Considering McGwire’s poor percentage of votes on the last couple of Hall of Fame ballots, does anyone seriously think that the voters will be any less forgiving for Bonds, Clemens and Ramirez, when he is eligible?

There is absolutely no question that PEDs, or even the threat of PEDs, have forever tarnished the career of Manny Ramirez as it has for other ballplayers already.

I mean seriously, did you really want to know anything about Bonds and his shrinking testicles?

Ramirez has been an explosive ballplayer throughout his 19-year career. However, he will now be looped in with the likes of others who have been accused of enhancing their bodies in order to achieve greater heights, and cheating will NEVER be forgiven in the eyes of Hall of Fame voters.

For continuing coverage of Major League Baseball, follow Doug on Twitter @Sports_A_Holic.

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