SEATTLE -- With his career seemingly on a path toward the Hall of Fame, Manny Ramirez took a step toward cementing his legacy of prolific slugging. The star right-handed hitter of the Red Sox smashed the 400th home run of his career in the top of the fifth inning of Sunday's contest against the Mariners, rifling a three-run shot to right off right-hander Gil Meche.
The care-free Ramirez seemed to relish the moment in his own unique way.
"Just another home run," said Ramirez. "That's a great moment in my life, but tomorrow it doesn't mean nothing. I'm just going back and trying to hit No. 11 [of the season]."
Ramirez became the fifth-fastest player in Major League history to reach the milestone.
Not that it was a race or anything. Four-hundred is 400. Hall of Fame outfielders like Joe DiMaggio (361) and Al Kaline (399) never reached that number.
"I don't care if it was slowly," Sox manager Terry Francona said prior to the game. "That's a lot of home runs. A lot of good hitting. Because he's not just a home run hitter. This guy is a pure hitter. I love watching him. He does some things that to me, are incredible. The stillness of his head. When he hits one of those breaking alls and he stays back on it, it's just so pretty to watch."
Ramirez, who turns 33 on May 30, will play at least three more seasons after this one, meaning there will likely be more milestones attained.
"Obviously the guy is a future Hall of Famer," said Sox first baseman Kevin Millar. "He's a tremendous hitter. Congratulations to him. That's a great feat, to hit 400 home runs at such a young age. I'm excited to see him hit a bunch more."
The Boston left fielder traded an autographed bat and ball to the fan in exchange for the historic ball.
Ramirez was his typically goofy self when asked what he was going to do with the ball.
"I don't know, probably put it on eBay," quipped Ramirez. "See how much I could get. Maybe $200."
His teammates marveled at the accomplishment.
"It's a great milestone that Manny can look back on at the end of his career," said Sox right fielder Trot Nixon. "I don't think he's going to stop there. I think he has a great chance at getting 500 home runs."
But before getting to that loftier number, it should be noted that Ramirez became just the 39th player in history to smash 400 homers.
Ramirez makes history
Red Sox at Mariners, May 15
|Only five players have hit their 400th home run in a Red Sox uniform:|
|Player||Date of 400th||Opponent||Pitcher|
|Manny Ramirez||May 15, 2005||vs. Seattle||Gil Meche|
|Andre Dawson||April 15, 1993||vs. Cleveland||Jose Mesa|
|Carl Yastrzemski||July 24, 1979||vs. Oakland||Mike Morgan|
|Ted Williams||July 17, 1956 (G2)||at Kansas City||Tom Gorman|
|Jimmie Foxx||June 27, 1938||at Cleveland||Bob Feller|
|Six 400 home run club members wore a Red Sox uniform at one time in their career: Babe Ruth (714), Jimmie Foxx (534), Ted Williams (521), Jose Canseco (462), Carl Yastrzemski (452) and Andre Dawson (438).|
Ramirez said No. 500 is nowhere near his radar.
"I don't set no goals, man. I just go have fun, play hard and go home," Ramirez said. "That's me. I know I'm a special player. I know I'm going to be fun when I leave this game, so I don't worry about that."
When Ramirez starts fretting over statistics, he'll stop being Ramirez. It is part of what makes him such a great hitter.
"He doesn't pay attention to it, he just keeps playing the game," said fellow Sox masher David Ortiz, Ramirez's best friend on the team. "The time for him to sit down and think about it and go a little crazy about is when he's done playing, to sit down and look at his numbers and say, 'I was good.' Right now, he doesn't get excited about things. He just goes out there every day and tries to help this ballclub."
To Ramirez, it was just another joyful day at the yard.
"I have fun all the time man," Ramirez said. "I'm just blessed to wake up and be here."
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.