Tampa Bay Devil Rays

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Template:MLB Devil Rays franchise

The Tampa Bay Devil Rays are a Major League Baseball team based in St. Petersburg, Florida. They are in the Eastern Division of the American League.

Founded: 1998 (American League expansion)
Home ballpark: Tropicana Field
Uniform colors: Black, Forest Green, and White
Logo design: The words "TAMPA BAY" superimposed on a devil ray (manta ray)
Wild Card titles won (0): none
Division titles won (0): none
American League pennants won (0): none
World Series championships won (0): none

Before the Devil Rays

The Tampa Bay/St. Petersburg area made many attempts to acquire a baseball team before receiving the Devil Rays in the 1998 expansion. The main obstacles were city infighting and the lack of a stadium. That changed with the building of the state-of-the-art Suncoast Dome in 1986. The dome was built without any notification of receiving a team (Major League Baseball recommended highly against it), and was solely meant to attract an existing team. Soon, teams started to look in to moving to the area, the first being the Chicago White Sox, who but for a last minute action by the Illinois Legislature were heading to St. Petersburg. The Seattle Mariners also looked at the area.

The 1993 expansion, the first in more than a decade, brought out interest from the area. Too much, it turned out. St. Petersburg fielded a group, expecting to be a lock until a competing group from Tampa also showed up. Not helping matters was a bid by Wayne Huizenga for a team in Miami. Not wanting two Florida teams, and faced with a strong bid from Denver, the league bypassed the Bay Area and took Huizinga's bid. Adding salt to the wound, Huizenga named the Miami team the Florida Marlins.

Another shot at baseball came when the San Francisco Giants were for sale, and a group wanted to move them to St. Pete. A press conference was announced, uniforms were drawn up, and tickets were about to be printed. However, at the last minute, the team was sold to a local San Francisco group. Many were bitter, especially at Huizenga, who voted against the move. A local boycott on Blockbuster Video stores lasted for years. Angry at MLB about the Giants, group leader Vince Naimoli threatened a lawsuit. In fear, baseball decided to have another expansion, this time admitting Naimoli's group and a group from Arizona.

So, the Dome was finally occupied. But, to stay current, it needed more than $70 million US from the city in renovations. The Dome that had built 3 other teams' new stadiums was now out of date. And, in a biting irony, the team that was supposed to put St. Petersburg on the map was named...Tampa Bay. Many never forgave the team.

Franchise history

From their inception in 1998, the Devil Rays are yet to be major contenders, finishing in last place in the American League East every year from 1998 to 2003. In 2003, the team signed manager Lou Piniella, a proven manager who helped the Seattle Mariners become competitive in the mid-1990s. Expectations were low for the team entering the 2004 season, but the team surprised most baseball experts by compiling a 42-41 record (.506) in their first 83 games, staying within 5 games for the American League wild card, a remarkable feat considering the team was 18 games below .500 at one point. However, the team soon returned to its losing ways, finishing the 2004 season with a record of 70-91, the best in team history, and in 4th place in the American League East, also a team best.

Players of note

Baseball Hall of Famers

Current roster (updated on June 15, 2005)






Disabled List


Not to be forgotten

Retired numbers

Single Season Records

External links

Major League Baseball
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World Series | All Star Game | MLBPA | Minor Leagues


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