Tampa Bay Rays

Tampa Bay Rays  

Rays Timeline


Tampa Bay Devil Rays Team Formation

Finally, on March 9, 1995, new expansion franchises were awarded to Naimoli's Tampa Bay group and a group from Phoenix (the Arizona Diamondbacks). The new franchises were scheduled to begin play in 1998.

The Tampa Bay area finally had a team, but the stadium in St. Petersburg was already in need of an upgrade. In 1993, the stadium was renamed the Thunderdome and became the home of the Tampa Bay Lightning hockey team and the Tampa Bay Storm Arena Football League team. After the birth of the Rays, the naming rights were sold to Tropicana Products and $70 million was spent on renovations.

Tropicana Field

Tropicana Field (originally Florida Suncoast Dome and formerly Thunderdome) is a domed stadium in St. Petersburg, Florida that has been the home of Major League Baseball's Tampa Bay Rays since the team's inaugural season in 1998, when they were the Devil Rays. It is currently the only domed stadium in Major League Baseball that is not retractable. Tropicana Field is the smallest MLB stadium by seat capacity with tarp covered, obstructed-view seats.

Just over the right-center field fence is the Rays Touch Tank. This 35-foot, 10,000 gallon tank is filled with cownose rays that were taken from Tampa Bay waters. Admission to the tank area is free for all fans attending home games, but there is a limit of 50 people in the area at any given time. Not only do fans get to see the rays up close and get an education about them, but they are allowed to feed them as well.

Trade for Manager Lou Piniella

Before the 2003 season, the team traded Randy Winn to the Seattle Mariners for the right to negotiate with manager Lou Piniella, a Tampa native, who managed winning teams at every stop in his managerial career, including the New York Yankees, the Cincinnati Reds (whom he led to a World Series Trophy in 1990), and the Mariners. Piniella was attracted to the Tampa Bay job because of the proximity to his family and the chance to build a losing franchise into a winner as he had done in Seattle. Piniella's first team still came in last place, but finished seven games better than the 2002 team. A highlight of the 2003 season was the emergence of Rocco Baldelli, a native of Rhode Island, as one of the top rookies in the major leagues.

Stuart Sternberg Ownership

Sternberg purchased a 48% plurality-share in the previously named Devil Rays (now known as the Tampa Bay Rays) in May 2004 from Vince Naimoli, and took over as Managing General Partner in October 2005. He arranged his bid for controlling interest in the team with fellow Goldman Sachs partner Matthew Silverman, whom he hired as the team's President. He has remained a low key owner, who currently sees his primary goal with the team as getting their finances in order.

Shorten Name to "Rays"

Prior to the 2008 season the team unveiled new uniforms along with a name change. After considering other options such as the "Aces," "Bandits," "Cannons," "Dukes," "Stripes," and Stuart Sternberg's personal favorite, the "Nine," the team's new name was officially announced to be the "Tampa Bay Rays." The new team colors were "navy, Columbia blue and a touch of gold" and a new team logo featured a bright yellow sunburst symbolizing the Sunshine State of Florida. Following a front office promise to increase the team's payroll, it was raised to $43 million.

Rays Primary Logo History Rays Alternate Logo History No Wordmark Logo History


Team Information Team History

Tampa Bay

Rays - On November 8, 2007, the club announced that they were dropping the "Devil" part in order to identify themselves primarily with the rays of the sun, Florida being the Sunshine State.

Tropicana Field
1998 - present

Stuart Sternberg 
2005 - present

Vince Naimoli
1998 - 2005

Established: 1998

League History:
Major League Baseball
2000 - present

American League
1998 - 1999

Team History:
Tampa Bay Rays
2008 - present

Tampa Bay Devil Rays
1998 - 2007

World Series: 0

Retired Numbers:
12 Wade Boggs
42 Jackie Robinson
66 Don Zimmer

Mascots: 2013 - present 1998 - present

The Official Site of the Tampa Bay Rays

*Red is this team's history

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