Hanley Ramirez was born on December 23rd, 1983 in Samana, Dominican Republic. Like most young boys raised in the Dominican Republic, Hanley had a passion for baseball. At a young age, Hanley’s body developed very quickly, and it was apparent he was going to become an exceptional athlete. People first began noticing that Hanley had talent after he led his little league team in homeruns at the age of 5. Hanley’s parents had originally envisioned their son becoming an engineer, but they soon dropped those hopes once it became evident that Hanley was a dominant force on the baseball field at Adbentista High School in the Dominican Republic. Baseball scouts soon took notice- by the time he was 15 Hanley was already a hot prospect.
Hanley made his pro baseball debut with the Boston Red Sox, who signed him to a $55,000 minor league contract during the summer of 2000. Hanley was touted as a true five-tool player; someone who could hit for average, who had power, who could make plays with his glove and arm, and who could also steal bases! Hanley quickly rose through the Red Sox organization by proving that he was the real deal. During his tenure in the minor leagues, he hit above .300, and grew to be 6’3 and over 200 pounds. Scouts and players alike knew it was only a matter of time before Hanley would be called up and become another legendary member of the Boston Red Socks. This, however, never came to fruition as there was a log-jam at middle infield for Boston. Realizing this, the Red Sox traded Hanley to the Florida Marlins during the 2005-2006 offseason.
It was with the Marlins that Hanley got a chance to show the world the incredible baseball skills that he knew that he had. Hanley won the starting shortstop job and lead-off position for the 2006-2007 season with his stellar play during spring training. To truly put in perspective the rookie season that followed, some historical perspective is needed. At 22 years old, Hanley put up numbers that rank him with some of the all-time MLB greats. He was the first National League rookie to ever score 110-plus runs and steal over 50 bases. Even more impressive, he is only the second Major League player ever to score over 115 runs and steal over 50 bases in one season. He was also only the second NL rookie to hit over 17 homeruns while playing over 100 games at shortstop. Futhermore, Hanley is only the 5th major leaguer since 1900 to hit over 45 doubles and steal over 50 stolen bases. He joins Hall-of-Famers Lou Brock and Ty Cobb as one of the few to accomplish this amazing feat. Once the season was in the books, players and fans were not surprised when Hanley was named the 2006 National League Rookie of the Year. Hanley finished the season with an impressive stat line that read: .292 batting average, 46 doubles, 11 triples, 17 home runs, 119 runs scored, 51 stolen bases and 59 RBIs. His strong play helped lead the Marlins from obscurity to a team that just missed the playoffs in 2006.
Hanley entered the 2007 season poised to continue his growth as a five-tool star and lead the Marlins to a playoff berth. Throughout the 2007 season, his play made it clear that he was no longer just one of the best young players in the league, but was hands-down one of the top players in all of baseball. By the end of the season, he had increased most of his stat totals from the previous year. He raised his batting average to .332, his homerun total to 29, and his RBIs to 81. Hanley also hit two more doubles and scored six more runs than he did during his rookie campaign.
In 2008, Hanley became the face of the Florida Marlins franchise after they traded All-Stars Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis. For the first time in his career, he was named as the starting shortstop for the National League All-Star Team. In June, Hanley was named the NL Player of the Month. He batted .298 with six doubles, a triple, and 10 home runs and led the NL in three categories – home runs, runs scored, and total bases. In September, Hanley hit his 30th home run of the season to become a member of the 30-30 club. Hanley finished the season batting .301 with 33 home runs, 67 RBIs, and 35 stolen bases.
In the 2009 season, Hanley picked up where he left off. Hanley led the Florida Marlins to the third best season in franchise history with a record of 87 wins and 75 losses. Hanley was featured as the starting shortstop for the NL All-Stars and on September 6th became the 4th quickest shortstop, in terms of games played, to reach 100 homeruns. Hanley batted .342 on the season and won his first batting title along with recording 106 RBIs, 27 stolen bases, and 24 homeruns. Hanley came in second to Albert Pujols for NL MVP.
The 2010 season saw Hanley make his third All-Star appearance in a row and also participate in the Home Run Derby for the first time in his career, in which he came in second place. Hanley battled through injuries to get 21 homeruns, 76 RBIs, and a .300 batting average.
Hanley and the Marlins are off and running in the 2011 season and hope to make a deep run into the playoffs for the first time since their 2003 World Series winning season.
A Sporting News survey of 100 Hall of Famers, award winners and baseball experts tabbed Hanley as the fifth-best player in the entire league. At 25, he was the youngest player to make the top 10.
Hanley has developed into a leader on the field, in the clubhouse, as well as at home. He is a loving husband to his wife Elisabeth, and an incredible father to his two sons, three year old Hanley Jr. and recently born Hansel. He has always cared about his family and vowed from a young age that he would be there for his mother and father at all costs.