Cubs: Why Aramis Ramirez didn't get stronger Hall of Fame consideration

Chicago Cubs v Philadelphia Phillies
Chicago Cubs v Philadelphia Phillies / Hunter Martin/GettyImages

On Tuesday, Jan. 24, the results of the 2023 National Baseball Hall of Fame voting will be made public and, while the Cubs are relatively unrepresented (with the exception of John Lackey), it'll still be interesting to see who cracks that 75 percent threshold.

One man who won't factor into this year's Hall of Fame discussion, though, is former Cubs third baseman Aramis Ramirez, who was a one-and-done in his bid for Cooperstown, receiving just one percent of the vote from BBWAA voters in 2021. But with another third baseman from the same era, Scott Rolen, expected to be a top vote-getter this year, it's worth re-examining Ramirez' resume.

A standout offensive performer, Ramirez was an NL Central mainstay his entire career, spanning from 1998 to 2015, an 18-year big league stint. His playing days began in the Steel City as a member of the Pirates, but it wasn't until he came to Chicago that he emerged as one of the most valuable third basemen in the game.

Cubs fleeced the Pirates in the deal that netted Aramis Ramirez

Pittsburgh sent Ramirez to the Cubs in the same 2003 trade that netted Kenny Lofston, a lopsided move that proved costly for the Pirates. Between Pittsburgh and Chicago, the Dominican native smacked 27 home runs, drove in 102 and posted a 102 OPS+ (which goes to show just how offense-dominated this era was).

He followed that up with a trio of 30+ homer seasons, including a monster 2004 that saw him throw up a .951 OPS and 139 OPS+ in 147 contests. Over the course of his Cubs career, which featured plenty of less-than-stellar ball clubs on the North Side, Ramirez averaged 28 home runs, 96 RBI and a .297/.359/.533 line annually - and was 28 percent better than league average, using OPS+.

Following the 2011 season, Ramirez joined the Brewers on a three-year deal and he had a huge 2012 with Milwaukee, leading the league with 50 doubles to go with a .901 OPS. But from there, he began to trend downward - with his career ending with a pinch-hit appearance against the Cubs as a member of the Pirates in the 2015 NL Wild Card Game at PNC Park.

There's never been anybody who questioned Ramirez' credentials with the stick. Offensively, Rolen and Ramirez have eerily similar slash lines in their careers - as pointed out by Tom Verducci. But, as is also excellently described in that piece, baserunning and defense torpedoed Ramirez' Hall of Fame candidacy, while those same aspects have Rolen on the cusp of baseball immortality.

Rolen also boasts a World Series ring from his time in St. Louis. The seven-time All-Star and eight-time Gold Glover was a huge piece of the Cardinals' 2006 win in the Fall Classic, posting an OPS north of 1.200 against Detroit. Although his overall postseason resume fails to impress (.220/.302/.376 in 159 PAs), he won his ring and played a key role in helping his club finish the job.

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Ramirez, at the end of the day, may not be Cooperstown-worthy, but remains a criminally underrated player in Chicago Cubs history. No matter how much time passes, his proclivity for producing in pressure-packed moments and Len Kasper's ecstatic calls of his numerous walk-offs during his Cubs tenure will never get old.