|Wednesday, October 30
Ramirez first player in seven years with perfect score
NEW YORK -- Boston's Manny Ramirez became the first player in seven years, and only the fifth ever, to get a perfect score in the annual statistical rankings compiled by the Elias Sports Bureau.
Since the rankings were created by players and owners in the settlement of the 1981 strike, the only previous players to get perfect 100s were New York Yankees first baseman Don Mattingly in 1987, Baltimore Orioles shortstop Cal Ripken in 1991, Chicago first baseman Frank Thomas (1995) and Houston first baseman Jeff Bagwell (1995).
Ramirez was ranked among designated hitters because he appeared in more games at DH during the 2001 and 2002 seasons than in the outfield. He finished first in the five categories used to evaluate DHs: plate appearances, batting average, on-base percentage, homers and RBI.
Colorado first baseman Todd Helton nearly had a perfect score, finishing at 99.2. He was first in average, on-base percentage, homers and RBI but second to Houston's Jeff Bagwell in plate appearances.
Ramirez had been among the top three AL outfielders the previous six seasons. The outfield includes Chicago's Magglio Ordonez (95.405) for the second year in a row, and the New York Yankees' Bernie Williams (92.973) for the sixth consecutive season. Boston's Cliff Floyd was third at 90.135.
Jason Giambi (95.714), in his first season since leaving Oakland to sign with the Yankees, was the top first baseman for the second straight season.
Ivan Rodriguez of the Rangers (88.940) led AL catchers for the fifth straight season, and Texas teammate Alex Rodriguez (96.104) led AL shortstops for the fourth straight year and fifth time in six seasons.
Seattle's Bret Boone (97.143) took over from Roberto Alomar as the top second baseman, and Oakland's Eric Chavez (90.286) replaced Travis Fryman as the top third baseman. Despite missing much of the season because of injuries, the Yankees' Mariano Rivera (91.834), who had three stints on the disabled list, replaced Chicago's Keith Foulke as the top relief pitcher.
In the NL, Arizona's Randy Johnson (99.119) edged teammate Curt Schilling (98.638) as the top starting pitcher for the second straight season, and Houston's Octavio Dotel (92.343) took over from San Francisco's Robb Nen as the top reliever.
Paul LoDuca (87.775) of Los Angeles became the top catcher, ending Mike Piazza's two-year reign.
San Francisco's Jeff Kent (88.776), who filed for free agency Tuesday, was the top second baseman for the second straight year, and teammate Rich Aurilia (92.547) was the top shortstop for the second consecutive season. Scott Rolen (92.063), traded from Philadelphia to St. Louis during the season, took over from Jeff Cirillo at third base.
Barry Bonds of the Giants (96.774), Lance Berkman of the Astros (95.806) and Sammy Sosa of the Chicago Cubs (95.806) lead the outfielders. Sosa was among the top three for the fourth straight season, and Bonds for the second in a row. Arizona's Luis Gonzalez dropped out.
The rankings are used to decide whether players are Type A, B or C free agents, and what draft picks their former teams get as compensation if they sign elsewhere. The top 30 percent in each group get an A ranking, the next 20 percent a B ranking and the group between 50 and 60 percent a C ranking.
When players and owners reached an agreement Aug. 30 on a new labor contract, they at first intended to drop free-agent compensation in exchange for teams getting additional draft picks if they failed to sign their first- or second-round picks in the annual amateur draft each June.
But when they drafted their memorandum of agreement in September, they could not agree on what they had agreed to and decided to keep the old free-agent compensation rules.
''We thought we were getting more than they were giving,'' management lawyer Rob Manfred said Wednesday. ''It became clear we didn't have a deal.''