As our Marlins All-Time All-Star roster study continues, the time has come to talk shortstop, and to reflect on the career of one of Miami’s most productive players ever.
Miami has had several more talented players over the years. But when you look at buzz, production, the whole package of stardom…only Miguel Cabrera and Giancarlo Stanton can edge out the All-Star shortstop.
Ramirez stands alone in franchise All-Star lore as the only member of the Miami Marlins to ever start in three consecutive All-Star Games. All three of those campaigns were .300 or better, 20-20 seasons. Unquestioned offensive dominance, that more than made up for what was at times questionable defense.
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That last is a unique wart, both among the other All-Time All-Stars on this list, and Miami Marlins shortstops in particular. Both of the other All-Star shortstops in team history were widely revered for their defense, as was Hanley’s ultimate successor in Adeiny Hechavarria.
And while I could be going rose colored glasses on some of the outfielders, all of Miami’s All-Stars were pretty solid defenders. When it comes to fielding, there’s a reason Hanley currently plays American League first base.
Absolutely an All-Star
As a hitter though, he was a revelation to Marlins fans who had long grown accustomed to viewing all offense from shortstop as a bonus. You can easily make the argument that the only reason Ramirez didn’t make the All-Star Game in both 2006 and 2007 was that Cabrera was his teammate.
Both seasons saw him outproduce both NL shortstops. In 2006, he was the NL Rookie of the Year. In 2007, he hit .332 and tied his career high with 51 steals.
Putting it another way, both of those early non All-Star efforts were far more deserving of recognition than either of the other Marlins All-Star seasons at short. Edgar Renteria made it in 1998 because someone had to, winning the battle of attrition for last World Champion standing.
And even then, Cliff Floyd probably had a better season.
As for Alex Gonzalez, your guess is as good as mine. Luis Castillo broke out that year, hitting over .300 and stealing 50 bases. Preston Wilson finished second in the Rookie of the Year vote thanks to his 26 HRs. Alex Fernandez won Come back Player of the Year.
All better seasons, and even all of those efforts would have paled in comparison to the numbers Floyd would have finished with if he hadn’t gotten hurt in June. Somehow, Gonzalez still managed to make the All-Star team.
There is zero mystery when it comes to those Hanley Ramirez ASG appearances.
All-Star Game production
In 2008, he stepped up in Cabrera’s absence, posting a career high 33 home runs. In 2009, he won the NL Batting Title with a blistering .342 average. In 2010, it was a down year, with Ramirez managing only a 20-30, .300 season.
We’ve already covered that this should really have been a five All-Star appearance streak. In terms of year-in, year-out excellence, it’s a very short list of Miami Marlins who can match it.
When it comes to MLB All-Star Game production though, it was a downhill journey for Hanley.
He went 2 for 3 in 2008, easily the best All-Star Game performance by a Marlins All-Star in recent memory. Unfortunately, that success was not to last, as he went 0 for 6 combined over the next two Games. Still, getting there is what matters, and few Marlins earned their spot more.
Single season All-Star: 2009 Hanley Ramirez
We’ll keep this chapter of the Miami Marlins All-Time All-Star series at one slide, as the answer was already pretty clear.
That 2009 season: .342 BA, 24 HRs, 106 RBI, 27 SBs, .410 OBP. He finished second for NL MVP.
In comparison to his All-Star peers at short, there is no comparison. Those previously denigrated Renteria and Gonzalez seasons saw batting averages of .282 and .277 respectively. Their combined home run total only stacks up to 17 dingers.
The hero of 1997 did swipe 41 bases in 1998, and again, was much better defensively. But that still doesn’t come close to matching up here.
Be it for all-time, or just in a single year, Marlins fans haven’t seen better at short than Hanley.