LOS ANGELES // Manny Ramirez of the Los Angeles Dodgers moved past Mickey Mantle and into 15th place on the career home run list on Monday night, hitting a two-run shot off Cincinnati's Micah Owings for the 537th of his career. Ramirez, who tied Mantle on July 10, drove a 2-0 slider into the left field pavilion in the second inning to give the Dodgers a 6-3 lead. The crowd at Chavez Ravine yelled his first name in unison, hoping for a curtain call that never came.
Mantle is the ninth Hall of Famer Ramirez passed on the all-time list since the start of last season. The others were Lou Gehrig, Eddie Murray, Mel Ott, Eddie Mathews, Ernie Banks, Ted Williams, Willie McCovey and Jimmie Foxx. The next target for Ramirez is Mike Schmidt at 548. "To be honest, I haven't been keeping track of who I've passed or where I'm at. I just wait for you guys to tell me," Ramirez said.
"I just go and play and don't worry about the numbers. Maybe I will when I look back later on and see what I accomplished. But now I'm going to take it day by day and see if we can go to the next step." The home run was the 12-time All-Star's 400th in the regular season against right-handed pitching. Owings became the 351st pitcher Ramirez has homered against, compared to 244 for Mantle - who was third on the home run list behind Babe Ruth and Willie Mays when he retired at the end of the 1968 season.
"It's awesome. It was just amazing sitting there watching that," the Dodgers owner Frank McCourt said. "It's a huge accomplishment for any ballplayer. It's a real milestone. You saw him hit that ball tonight. The man can hit a baseball, there's no question about it. He brings a lot of energy and fun to the game." *AP