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 to 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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
History of the Devil Rays
The Devil Rays began to build their organization shortly after the franchise was awarded in 1995 by naming former Atlanta Braves assistant general manager Chuck LaMar the senior vice president of baseball operations and general manager. The franchise’s first minor league games took place in the 1996 season. On November 7, 1997, Larry Rothschild was named the team’s first manager. The team acquired 35 players in the Expansion Draft on November 18, 1997. Tony Saunders from the Florida Marlins was the first player drafted by the Devil Rays. The team also drafted future star Bobby Abreu but traded him to the Philadelphia Phillies for Kevin Stocker, who had very little success for the Rays. Before the 1998 season, veteran stars Wade Boggs, Fred McGriff, and Wilson Álvarez were acquired.
The team's first decade of play was marked by futility; they finished in last place in the AL East in all but the 2004 season, when they finished second to last. Following the 2007 season, Stuart Sternberg, who had purchased controlling interest in the team from Vince Naimoli two years earlier, changed the team's name from "Devil Rays" to "Rays", now meant to primarily refer to a burst of sunshine rather than a manta ray, though a manta ray logo remains on the uniform sleeves.
2000 – Present / Major League Baseball
1998 – 1999 / American League
2008 – Present / Tampa Bay Rays
1998 – 2007 / Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Devil Rays – Vince Naimoli, owner of Tampa Bay’s expansion team, chose Devil Rays out of more than 7,000 suggestions submitted by the public in 1995. The reaction was not positive. “So far, I’ve fielded about 20 phone calls protesting Devil Rays, and most of the callers have described themselves as Christians who are upset about the word devil,” a Tampa Tribune columnist told a reporter less than a week after the nickname was announced. Naimoli reportedly wanted to nickname his team the Sting Rays, but it was trademarked by a team in the Hawaiian Winter League.
World Series 0
1998 – Present / Tropicana Field
2005 – Present / Stuart Sternberg
1998 – 2005 / Vince Naimoli
To qualify as the greatest player for this team, the player must have played one season for this team. If not, we will remove the player.
* verifies that player has played for this team as an added player by a fan.
12 / Wade Boggs
42 / Jackie Robinson
66 / Don Zimmer
*Blue is this team’s history