Two-time World Series champion Manny Ramirez will play for the Auckland Tuatara if the Australian Baseball League season goes ahead this summer amid the global pandemic.
Ramirez, who was the World Series MVP in Boston’s famous 2004 triumph, the team’s first championships in 86 years, is 15th on the all-time home run list having hit 555 in the majors.
He was a 12-time All Star in an MLB career where he played for Indians, Red Sox, Dodgers, White Sox and the Tampa Bay Rays from 1993 to 2011.
The 48-year-old approached the Tuatara to play in the upcoming ABL season.
Tuatara boss Regan Wood said Ramirez, who has played in his native Dominican Republic and in Asia since his last MLB game, still had ambitions to play in the major leagues.
“Manny Ramirez has been in Taiwan, through a connection, reached out and said, ‘Hey, I wouldn’t mind coming to New Zealand.’
"It’s safe, it’s clean, love what you did with the baseball last year, why not one more summer in the sun?
“We also had two guys last year get signed [by MLB teams], so he wants to be the oldest guy that goes back to the major leagues.”
Wood said he did laugh when he first heard Ramirez’s name.
“I did laugh - I knew what he was doing. You knew that he wants to continue to play,” Wood said.
“This is real. If we can make it work, we’re a safe harbour. If he can get in and play, there are all these ABL connotations whether we go across the ditch or not. It’s a real conversation. He’s a pretty laid back character.”
1 NEWS understands former Cy Young winner Félix Hernández has also expressed an interest in playing in Auckland.
The Tuatara boss wouldn’t confirm Hernández’s interest by name.
“We’ve got a former Cy Young winner, a former Rookie of the Year, that are wanting to come down and be part of this,” Wood said.
“We’re saying, 'Great, we need to sort the protocols to get you into the country.’”
Hernández, a 34-year-old former Seattle Mariners pitcher, won the award for the American League in 2010.
The Venezuelan threw the 23rd perfect game in MLB history in 2012.