Aramis Ramirez ready to ride off into the sunset in 2015


At long last, big league third baseman Aramis Ramirez is ready to call it a day and ride off into the sunset.

He began his career back in 1998 as a 20-year-old infielder with the Pittsburgh Pirates – the start of what would eventually turn into a six-year run in the Steel City. In his rookie campaign, Ramirez struggled, appearing in 72 games, batting just .235/.296/.351 with half a dozen home runs.

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With time and more big league at-bats, the Dominican Republic native figured it all out. In his first full season with the Pirates, Ramirez posted an .885 OPS, crushing 34 home runs and driving in 112 runs on the year, emerging as an offensive force at the hot corner for Lloyd McClendon‘s club.

The next year, he took a step backwards for Pittsburgh – but after opening up the 2003 campaign with a ‘bang’ – hitting a dozen homers and driving in 67 runs in 96 games for the Bucs before a midseason trade that sent Ramirez to the north side of Chicago as a member of the playoff-bound Chicago Cubs.

That season ended with the infamous Bartman Game – and a subsequent stunning collapse for the Wrigleyville faithful – but it was not Ramirez who was at fault. During the 63 games with Chicago, Ramirez hit 15 home runs – the first batch of the 239 bombs he would hit as a member of the Cubs organization.

For me, Ramirez will always be a Cub, but there’s no disputing how his roots were planted firmly in Pittsburgh.

During his time in Chicago, he earned a pair of All-Star selections, even finishing in the top ten of the National League MVP voting in both 2004 and 2010 – and finishing his run in the Windy City with his only career Silver Slugger in 2011.

As someone who loves the Cubs dearly, I have nothing but respect for A-Ram and what he brought to the table over the course of his career. A feared hitter and a decent defender (although there was admittedly plenty of room for improvement) – he was a major part of several playoff teams in Chicago.

For me, Ramirez will always be a Cub – but one thing is for sure. His roots were in Pittsburgh, where he began to figure it out for the first time – developing into a hitter who may very well flirt with the 400-homer club with one last final season in 2015.