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Manny socks it to Marlins

October 23, 1997

CLEVELAND (AP) _ Manny Ramirez took the Indians’ fashion statement to new heights.

It became obvious from the moment Ramirez ran out to right field in the first inning of Game 4 Wednesday night that something was a little different about his uniform.

His pants rode up above his knees like an old-time football player, revealing more red stocking than any of the other Indians have shown since the team made it their signature style.

But after Ramirez’s first at-bat in the first inning against Tony Saunders, the focus went from his hosiery to his home run history.

``I don’t know why I did it,″ Ramirez said of his decision to tuck his pants inside his socks. ``I just put them like that.″

After Omar Vizquel singled to open the first, Ramirez drove a 1-0 pitch over the wall in right field, giving the Indians a 2-0 lead and their fans another distraction from the cold in Cleveland’s 10-3 victory that evened the Series at 2-2.

Ramirez has two home runs in this World Series and three in his career. His nine career postseason homers are the most ever by a Cleveland player.

``I hit one out and I got everybody going,″ Ramirez said. ``There was no pressure on us tonight. We were playing at home and got pitches to hit, that was the key.″

Matt Williams, whose two-run homer in the eighth inning would cap Cleveland’s rout, knew the importance of Ramirez’s shot.

``That was huge,″ he said. ``That set the tone for the evening. If that’s a double play ball, it may be a different story, but Manny did a nice piece of hitting it out of the park.″

The 25-year-old Ramirez hit a career-high .328 this season with 26 home runs and 88 RBIs. In four seasons, he’s become one of baseball’s best hitters and a player equally capable of making mind-boggling mental mistakes.

Earlier this year, he was thrown out trying to steal first base, of all things. He had stolen second, and thinking play was dead, he began walking back toward first base and was tagged out.

His defense is suspect as well, and when there’s a fly ball headed toward him, many in the Jacobs Field crowd can be heard whispering ``Manny″ as he settles under it.

But as long as he keeps hitting October home runs, they’ll scream his name. Whether he’s wearing funny looking socks or not.

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