David Ortiz explains why he believes Manny Ramirez is a changed man

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Tomase: David Ortiz shares heartfelt reflection on Manny's legacy originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

Amidst the revelry after being elected to the Hall of Fame on Tuesday, former Red Sox slugger David Ortiz took a moment to reflect on one of his disappointments -- that Manny Ramirez won't be joining him in Cooperstown.

As great as Ortiz was at the plate and in the clutch, he'd be the first to admit that Ramirez surpassed him as a pure offensive force. But because his former teammate was busted multiple times for performance-enhancing drugs, he has never come close to enshrinement. This year, his sixth on the ballot, Ramirez held steady at 28.9 percent of the vote.

"Not seeing him in the Hall of Fame right now is something that really hurts me," Ortiz said. "And it hurts him because he knows that he made mistakes that he shouldn't."

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With voters so far unwilling to enshrine players with clear PED violations, Ramirez's candidacy has languished. In 2009, he was suspended 50 games violating the league's drug policy. Facing a 100-game suspension two years later, he instead bailed on the Rays and left the game, never to return.

Ortiz, however, believes that Ramirez has done a lot of growing since retirement. Now approaching his 50th birthday, Ramirez has admitted his mistakes and per Ortiz, found religion.

"I talked to Manny yesterday for a long time," Ortiz said. "You know Manny is following God's steps, which I think is great. I see so many changes in him since he started following God. Manny is a guy that I admire so much and I thank so much for being the guy that not many people know that he is. Manny while he played was a hardworking guy who had his personality, that's not a secret for any one of us, and he admitted he did so many things the wrong way for being immature and not being able to listen even to my advice, he admits it now.

"When you are a son of God, you have to be able to know what you did wrong and what you didn't. And you listen to Manny talk right now and it's a beautiful thing because he knows the mistakes that he made."

Ramirez's miscues eventually came to overshadow his prodigious talent. The 12-time All-Star hit .312, which ranks 10th in the Expansion Era, percentage points ahead of Edgar Martinez. With monstrous power and the gift to set up pitchers, Ramirez is as complete a hitter as the game has seen in the last 30 years.

He didn't mind sharing his secrets with Ortiz, who's three years his junior.

He's always going to be a big brother to me and I'm always going to thank him for being there for me and being one of the guys who loved me based on my personality.

David Ortiz on Manny Ramirez

"Manny was the type of professor that he didn't used to say much, all you've got to do is focus on his work ethic and you learn," Ortiz said. "And that's what I did when I got to Boston. I had the talent to hit, but I didn't have the talent to slow pitchers down like he used to and I learned that just watching him in the batter's cages, working every day, working on his hands, working on his body language. I'd watch him and for some reason I was the type of guy he liked, so he had no issues trying to teach me those things."

For Ramirez to reach Cooperstown, it will take a massive change in attitude from the electorate, which doesn't seem inclined to forgive his multiple PED infractions after MLB made it clear it intended to clean up the game.

If that's his fate, it won't change Ortiz's feelings towards his former partner in damage.

"He's always going to be a big brother to me and I'm always going to thank him for being there for me and being one of the guys who loved me based on my personality," Ortiz said.

"I don't need you to be the way I want you to be, I'm going to love you the way you are and that's me."

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