By on February 1, 2011

For Immediate Release courtsey of the Tampa Bay Rays  

February 1, 2011

 ST. PETERSBURG, FL—The Tampa Bay Rays have signed free agent outfielder Johnny Damon and designated hitter Manny Ramirez each to one-year contracts.  Damon will earn a base salary of $5.25 million.  Ramirez will be paid $2 million. In Ramirez and Damon, the Rays are getting two of the three active players with 2,500 hits, 1,500 runs and 800 extra- base hits.  The two have combined for 23 seasons of 30 or more doubles, 16 seasons of .300 or better batting averages and 16 seasons of 100 or more runs. Damon’s 103 hits at Tropicana Field are second most by a visiting player and Ramirez’s 92 are third. The two have played a combined total of 166 postseason games and at least one of them has gone to the postseason in 13 of the last 16 seasons.  Ramirez has made 11 trips to the postseason and Damon seven.  Each player has won two world championships: they were teammates on the 2004 World Champion Red Sox, Ramirez won a second title with the 2007 Red Sox and Damon was a member of the 2009 Yankees.  Damon, 37, is a veteran of 16 major league seasons with the Kansas City Royals (1995–2000), Oakland Athletics (2001), Boston Red Sox (2002–05), New York Yankees (2006–09) and Detroit Tigers (2010).  In 145 games last season he hit .271 (146-for-539) with eight home runs, 51 RBI, 81 runs scored, 11 stolen bases and a .355 on-base percentage.  He has appeared in 140 or more games for 15 consecutive seasons, a feat matched by only four players: Hank Aaron (16 seasons), Brooks Robinson (16), Pete Rose (16) and Willie Mays (15).  The two-time All-Star (2002, 2005) has had 11 seasons of 30 or more doubles, including 36 in each of the last two seasons.  The only active player with more doubles is Ramirez with 12.  Damon is also one of three active players, 14 all-time, with 10 seasons of 100 or more runs. A left-handed hitter, Damon owns a career .287 batting average with 2,571 hits, 215 home runs and 385 stolen bases. With 13 more doubles he will become just the fifth player in the last 50 years with 500 doubles and 100 triples joining George Brett, Paul Molitor, Pete Rose and Robin Yount.  He resides in Orlando, where he attended Dr. Phillips High School. Ramirez, 38, is a 12-time All-Star (1995, 1998–2008) and nine-time Silver Slugger Award winner.  The 18-year veteran has played for the Cleveland Indians (1993–2000), Red Sox (2001–08), Los Angeles Dodgers (2008–10) and Chicago White Sox (2010).  He split the 2010 season between the Dodgers and White Sox, batting a combined .298 (79-for-265) in 90 games with nine home runs, 42 RBI, a .409 on-base percentage and .460 slugging percentage. With 555 career home runs, Ramirez ranks 14th on the all-time list and third among active players.  Only four members of the 500-home run club have a higher career batting average than Ramirez’ .313 mark: Ted Williams (.344), Babe Ruth (.342) and Jimmie Foxx (.325). His 1,830 RBI rank second among active players and 18th in baseball history.  Ramirez has also compiled 547 doubles (second among actives), a .586 slugging percentage (second among actives, ninth all time) and .411 on-base percentage (third among actives).  Ramirez has batted .300 or better 11 times and has a current streak of 16 consecutive seasons of .290 or better.  Only five players all-time have hit .290 or better in 16 straight seasons of 300 or more plate appearances: Ty Cobb (20), Tris Speaker (19), Tony Gwynn (17), Stan Musial (16) and Babe Ruth (16). –more– Page 2 His 21 grand slams rank second all-time to Lou Gehrig (23).  Ramirez has recorded 12 seasons of at least 30 home runs and 100 RBI, one of four players to do so along with Alex Rodriguez (14 seasons), Jimmie Foxx (12) and Babe Ruth (12).  He was born in the Dominican Republic and currently resides in Pembroke Pines, Fla. Ramirez is baseball’s all-time postseason home run leader with 29 and ranks second all-time with 78 RBI.  He was named Most Valuable Player of the 2004 World Series. 14 Days Until Pitchers and Catchers Report

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