Retired numbers: Tampa Bay Rays - by G. Scott Thomas

The majority of baseball fans think about the Tampa Bay Rays as overachievers.

The franchise is constantly encumbered among the tiniest payrolls in the big leagues, yet it still handled to play .539 ball in between 2008 and 2020, received the playoffs 6 times over that 13-year period, and two times made it to the World Series.

However Tampa Bay hasn’t constantly understood such success. The club, then called the Devil Rays, indulged ineptitude throughout its very first years. Its winning portion from 1998 through 2007 was a woeful .399, yielding 9 last-place surfaces in ten years.

This is the 22nd stop on my club-by-club evaluation of retired consistent numbers, an evaluation of each group’s all-time heroes.

It’s unsurprising that the Rays have actually retired just a set of jerseys. The franchise is among the 2 youngest in the majors, now playing its 24th season. The other young child, the Arizona Diamondbacks, likewise have actually pulled just 2 numbers from flow. (I’m not counting Jackie Robinson’s No. 42, which was retired for all big-league clubs by order of Commissioner Bud Selig.)

What’s weird is that both of Tampa Bay’s senior citizens have tighter links to the godawful Devil Rays than to the current (and resurgent) variations that bring a much shorter label.

That variation will most likely be remedied a couple of years from now, with a minimum of 2 males who played essential functions in restoring the franchise most likely to be singled out. However both are still active with other clubs, so you shouldn’t anticipate to see retirement events at Tropicana Field anytime quickly.

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Rays’ numbers currently retired

Both of Tampa Bay’s honorees got here, as kept in mind above, throughout the dark years of the Devil Rays.

No. 12 Wade Boggs invested just the last 2 seasons (1998-1999) of his 18-year Hall of Popularity profession in Tampa Bay. The 3rd baseman played 213 video games and batted .289 for the Rays, figures that were significantly eclipsed by his 1,625 video games and .338 Bachelor’s Degree for Boston. (His No. 26 has actually been retired by the Red Sox.) However Boggs matured in Tampa, and his arrival as a complimentary representative provided the new franchise a welcome injection of regional prestige.

No. 66 Don Zimmer was a baseball lifer, a bald, spirited old-timer who appeared to understand everyone in the video game. Zimmer worked for 14 clubs as an infielder, coach, supervisor, and unique advisor. His 11-year stint with the Devil Rays and Rays — the 11 seasons leading up to his death in 2014 — significant his longest duration of work with any of those groups.

Rays’ prospects for retired numbers

I have actually winnowed out a list of 5 prospects for jersey retirement. Let’s consider them in mathematical order.

No. 3 Evan Longoria is the best homegrown star in Tampa Bay history. He played 3rd base for the Rays for a years (2008-2017) prior to being traded to the Giants. Longoria was American League Novice of the Year in ’08, and he completed amongst the leading 10 votegetters for The majority of Belongings Gamer 3 times. He ranks initially for the Rays in video games (1,435), runs (780), crowning achievement (261), runs batted in (892), and wins above replacement (51.2).

No one has actually published a greater profession batting average for Tampa Bay than No. 13 Carl Crawford, who struck .296 in 9 seasons (2002-2010). He made 4 Dream team and won a Gold Glove as a left fielder. Crawford stays the franchise’s all-time leader for hits (1,480), triples (105), and taken bases (409).

No. 18 Ben Zobrist is the only gamer besides Longoria and Crawford to take part in more than 1,000 video games in a Tampa Bay uniform. He played every position however pitcher and catcher throughout his 9 seasons with the club (2006-2014). Zobrist ranks 3rd in club history in runs (565), hits (1,016), and runs batted in (511), routing just — who else? — Longoria and Crawford in all 3 classifications.

No pitcher played as big a function for the Rays as the 3 position gamers above, however No. 33 James Shields (2006-2012) came closest. He published double-digit wins in 6 straight seasons, ending up 3rd in choosing the Cy Young Award in 2011, when he went 16-12 with a 2.82 AGE. Shields is the franchise leader for wins (87), begins (217), innings (1,455), and strikeouts (1,250).

The Devil Rays were definitely awful previous to the arrival of No. 70 Joe Maddon as supervisor, losing a minimum of 91 video games in each of their very first 8 years. Maddon (2006-2014) withstood 2 more losing seasons prior to whatever clicked in 2008. He led Tampa Bay to that year’s American League title, in addition to 3 more playoff berths in the 5 list below seasons, then left for the Chicago Cubs.

The outlook

2 prospects plainly stand head and shoulders above the others.

Longoria stays the best gamer ever to take the field in Tampa Bay, still the club’s all-time pacesetter in crucial offending classifications. Maddon breathed life into a moribund franchise, leading the Rays to the World Series in his 3rd season, an accomplishment that many observers had actually thought about difficult.

However there’s a catch. Longoria, who is 35 years of ages, is a crucial on-field cog for the San Francisco Giants, who obtained him in December 2017. The 67-year-old Maddon is still in the dugout, investing his 2nd season as supervisor of the Los Angeles Angels after 5 years in Chicago, where his Cubs won the 2016 world title.

It’s simple to picture the Rays retiring both of their numbers, though maybe not till their particular professions pertain to an end.

The others — Crawford, Zobrist, and Shields — all had great runs in Tampa Bay and all bet the wonderful World Series club in 2008. They may ultimately see their numbers contributed to the wall at Tropicana Field, or they may not.

However they’ll likely need to wait till Longoria and Maddon are honored.

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