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Auction may be in plans

Ramírez will travel to Atlantic City, says ad

The Globe's Stan Grossfeld went along for the ride when Manny Ramirez picked up the 1967 Lincoln (shown here before it was painted) that will be auctioned in Atlantic City. Check out photos from the trip . (Globe File Photo / Stan Grossfeld)
The Globe's Stan Grossfeld went along for the ride when Manny Ramirez picked up the 1967 Lincoln (shown here before it was painted) that will be auctioned in Atlantic City. Check out photos from the trip. (Globe File Photo / Stan Grossfeld)

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- While Manny Ramírez's teammates are scheduled to be working out here Saturday at the team's player development facility, the Red Sox left fielder is scheduled to appear at a classic car auction in Atlantic City, according to radio ads playing in the Philadelphia area.

One ad, which has been running on Philadelphia station WYSP-FM since Feb. 14, says Ramírez will appear along with Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson, according to a station employee who reviewed the ad yesterday.

Tony Averso, who said he is a New Jersey dealer in high-end customized classic cars, primarily Cadillacs, and has sold Ramírez five classic cars, said Ramírez has plans to join him at the Atlantic City Classic Cars Auction at the Atlantic City Convention Center, which begins tomorrow and runs through Sunday.

Ramírez is planning to be there Saturday, said Averso, who said he has been talking to Ramírez on a daily basis this week. Ramírez had not finalized plans, Averso said, because of his mother's medical condition. "His mother had surgery, then was taken back in [to the hospital]," Averso said.

"There's no question he was coming up," Averso added. "He was flying up and staying with me in Atlantic City. He knows his good cars and his bad cars."

Ramírez has a car that is up for bid, according to Averso -- a 1967 blue four-door Lincoln convertible custom built for him by Rad Rides and Troy Trepanier, who is legendary in the classic car industry (Check out a photo gallery of Manny traveling to Illinois in 2004 to pick up the car).

"A car like that, custom built by Troy, is guaranteed to go for $200,000 or more," Averso said. "This car is a work of art.

"As fiery as Manny is on the baseball field, he's pretty staid when it comes to picking the colors of his car."

Yesterday afternoon, Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein and manager Terry Francona appeared together to announce that Ramírez was not arriving until March 1 -- just as teammate Julian Tavarez had told Channel 4's Dan Roche Sunday night.

"Manny's going to be here ready to go March 1," Epstein said. "He's got a family situation. I think the important thing from our perspective at this point is when he does show up on March 1, he's ready to go and is accountable to his teammates, accountable to the organization."

Yesterday was the reporting date for Sox position players, but under terms of baseball's collective bargaining agreement, players are not required to report until Feb. 27.

"Manny's still crazy, I'm still baby-sitting," Sox DH David Ortiz said when asked about Ramírez's absence yesterday.

According to one source, Ramírez's agent, Greg Genske, has told the Sox that Ramírez will not be in Atlantic City. Averso, however, insisted that Ramírez told him he plans to come, depending on his mother's health.

Averso said he has purchased at least five classic cars for Ramírez, including an original 1960 Impala two-door sport coupe and a 1960 original Cadillac convertible. "We're looking at two others right now."

Averso said he met Ramírez and Ortiz several years ago, and has been buying cars for Ramírez since.

"He's one of the nicest people I've ever met in my life," Averso said. "And my wife has been a Red Sox fan since she was 2 years old."

If someone meets Ramírez's asking price on the Lincoln, Averso said, the buyer will also receive a baseball signed by Ramírez, an autographed photo, and the copy of the original title in his name.

Gordon Edes can be reached at edes@globe.com.

Photo Gallery PHOTO GALLERY: Manny being Manny
Web Log WEDNESDAY AT CAMP: Epstein on Manny
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Archives AUGUST 2004: Manny picks up the car
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