Alexei Fernando Ramírez (born September 22, 1981 in Pinar del Río, Cuba) is a Major League Baseball second baseman and shortstop for the Chicago White Sox. His nickname, given to him by White Sox manager Ozzie Guillén, is "The Cuban Missile" due to his tall, slim physique and combination of speed and power.
In seven yearsTemplate:Citation needed of baseball in the Cuban National Series, Ramírez spent most of his time playing shortstop and outfield for Pinar del Rio. He had a batting average of .335 in Cuba, and led the league in 2007 with 20 home runs while posting a .338 average.Template:Citation needed Ramírez played center field for Cuba at the 2006 World Baseball Classic, collecting 6 hits in 16 at-bats and impressing US scouts in the process. He hits and throws right-handed.
In September 2007, Ramírez left Cuba to apply for citizenship in the Dominican Republic, and also apply to Major League Baseball to enter free agency, according to his agent, Jaime Torres. He auditioned for many baseball teams before coming to an agreement on a four year contract with the Chicago White Sox on December 21, 2007.
During Ramírez's first season in the Majors, he excelled both offensively and in the field, despite playing second base instead of his customary shortstop position. Ramírez finished in second place in the voting for American League Rookie of the Year honors, losing to Evan Longoria of the Tampa Bay Rays.
Alexei hit his first major league home run on May 16, 2008 versus the San Francisco Giants off Billy Sadler. He led the major leagues in grand slam home runs in 2008, with four, and also swung at 59% of all pitches he saw for the season, also the most in the majors.
Ramirez fielded a ground ball for the final out of Mark Buehrle's July 23, 2009 perfect game. Ken Harrelson, the White Sox play-by-play announcer, made the call, exclaiming "Alexei! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! History!" as he completed the play.
Grand slam recordEdit
He hit his first career grand-slam on July 27, 2008 against the Texas Rangers.
On September 20, 2008, Ramirez hit his third grand slam of the season off of pitcher Brian Bannister of the Kansas City Royals in a 9-4 White Sox win, tying an American League rookie record set by Shane Spencer of the New York Yankees in 1998. It was the White Sox's eleventh grand slam of the season, tying the club record set in 2006.
On September 29, 2008, Ramirez hit his fourth grand slam of the season, setting a major-league single-season record for a rookie, off of Detroit Tigers pitcher Gary Glover in an 8-2 Sox victory to qualify the Sox for a one-game tiebreaker against the Minnesota Twins for the AL Central title. This also broke the team record for most grand slams in a single season.
- July 22, 2008 vs. Texas Rangers (Pitcher: Dustin Nippert)
- August 17, 2008 at Oakland Athletics (Pitcher: Dan Meyer)
- September 20, 2008 at Kansas City Royals (Pitcher: Brian Bannister)
- September 29, 2008 vs. Detroit Tigers (Pitcher: Gary Glover)
- April 25, 2009 vs. Blue Jays (Pitcher: Shawn Camp)
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