This moment has been known for some time, as Aramis Ramirez had stated before the 2015 season that it would be his last in the major leagues, but today it was made official. MLB Trade Rumors has several Spanish-language Twitter links confirming that A-Ram is now retired, but says he might want to stay in baseball in another role:
He doesn’t see himself as a coach or manager but is open to the idea of doing some front office work, specifically referencing the role Moises Alou recently occupied with the Padres, serving as a special assistant to the team’s player development staff. It’s also unclear as to when Ramirez would have his sights set on that type of work, as one of the key reasons he cited behind his decision to retire was a desire to spend more time with his family after an 18-year Major League career.
Ramirez came to the Cubs in one of Jim Hendry's best trades as GM. On July 23, 2003, Hendry sent Jose Hernandez, Bobby Hill and pitching prospect Matt Bruback to the Pirates for Ramirez and Kenny Lofton. It's not a stretch to say the Cubs would not have won the N.L. Central in 2003 without those two. (Oddly, it was precisely 12 years to the day -- July 23, 2015 -- that Ramirez returned to the Pirates from the Brewers, in exchange for Yhonathan Barrios.)
Ramirez spent eight and a half seasons in a Cubs uniform, was a two-time All-Star and got MVP consideration in four different years (2004, 2006, 2007 and 2008). He had seven 25-homer seasons for the Cubs and three with more than 30, and drove in 100 or more runs four times. His best season by bWAR was 2007, a 5.2 bWAR season in which he hit .310/.366/.549 with 26 HR and 101 RBI. Unlike many power hitters of this era, Ramirez never struck out much -- only once striking out 100 times, in 2001 when he was just 23 years old.
His 239 homers as a Cub rank sixth on the all-time Cubs team list. Only Ron Santo and Stan Hack played more games at third base as a Cub than A-Ram, who had 1,097 games as a third baseman in a Cubs uniform. Injuries prevented him from putting up even better numbers, as he missed half of the 2009 season with a dislocated shoulder and assorted other injuries had him play 150 or more games just once as a Cub.
Overall he retires with 386 home runs, 2,303 hits and 32.1 bWAR (38.3 fWAR). As a third baseman defensively he was just ordinary, but was still playing the position competently even in 2015, his final season. Will these numbers be enough for Hall of Fame consideration. Ordinarily, I'd say no, but there are so few great third basemen in the Hall that having played 2,112 games there might have the Hall voters give him some thought.
Ramirez, though, will likely go down in the Hall of Very Good. He never led the league in anything during his peak years with the Cubs; his only league-leading totals are 11 sacrifice flies in 2003 (split between the Pirates and Cubs) and his 50 doubles with the Brewers in 2012. A-Ram's baseball-reference page, under the Hall of Fame Statistics section, gives him an 85 under "Hall of Fame Monitor," where the average HoFer scores 100, and 39 for "Hall of Fame Standards," where the average HoFer scores 50. So... he probably won't make it. You can vote in the poll.
But Ramirez should be fondly remembered by Cubs fans for many thrills he gave us. He was a member of three Cubs postseason teams, and hit what is still the only Cubs postseason grand slam in Game 4 of the 2003 NLCS. The photo above depicts one of the signature moments of his career, his two-run walkoff against the Brewers June 29, 2007. That blast completed a Cubs comeback from a 5-0 deficit and gave everyone hope that the team perhaps could rebound from a bad start to the playoffs, which they eventually did.
I still see many fans wearing his jersey around Wrigley Field, and likely will for several years to come. Thanks, A-Ram, for the memories.