When Manny Ramirez played in Boston, I enjoyed watching him play and always thought he got a raw deal from the Red Sox fans & media who accused him of being selfish, lazy, and disruptive (among other things I can’t print here). I always got the sense that Manny was shy and just wanted to play baseball well and not deal with the stresses of public scrutiny, which I can find understandable. Becoming Manny: Inside the Life of Baseball’s Most Enigmatic Slugger (2009) by Jean Rhodes and Shawn Boburg confirms my understanding of Manny, although my esteem for him has fallen since he tested positive for performance enhancing drugs (ill-timed for the release of this book as well).
Still this is a well-written and informative biography, especially the parts about Manny’s early years before he reached the major leagues. Rhodes is a psychologists and offers some great insights through he lens of Manny Ramirez of children of immigrants, the extremes of poverty and strong community in inner-city neighborhoods, and the life of youth athletes. There is a special emphasis on coaches teachers, and friends who mentor young athletes. In Manny’s case there are older and wiser men to guide him through most of his life, most importantly Carlos “Macaco” Ferreira a Little League coach and lifelong friend.
Manny-lovers and more importantly Manny-haters should check this book out. It’s an excellent example of baseball biography at it’s best.
Becoming Manny : inside the life of baseball’s most enigmatic slugger / Jean Rhodes and Shawn Boburg.
Publisher: New York : Scribner, 2009.
Description:304 p. : ill. ; 24 cm.
Edition: 1st Scribner hardcover ed.