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August 28, 2009 at 4:41 am ET
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TGIT177DREF! The Top 177 Devil Rays Ever: #44-41

“Think only of the past as its remembrance gives you pleasure.”

-Jane Austen

In our continuing efforts to preserve and protect the full, proud history of our proud, great and dominant franchise, and to hagiographize the many, many valiant warriors who have contributed to that proud history, every Friday we’ll be counting down The Top 177* Devil Rays Ever….

The 44th, 43rd, 42nd, and 41st Greatest Devil Rays Ever are….
t177dre4441

44. Grant Balfour P (2007-Present)

  • DEVIL RAY MOMENT: October 2 2008, ALDS Game One, Tropicana Field, relieved James Shields in the top of the 7th with the bases loaded and one out to protect a 6-3 lead; struck out Juan Uribe, then struck out Orlando Cabrera and told him to “Sit the fuck down!”; the Devil Rays went on to win the game and the series
  • DEVIL RAY STATS (through August 26 2009): 131 Games 12 Wins 5 Saves 137.2 Innings Pitched 167 Strikeouts 3.40 ERA 132 ERA+
  • DEVIL RAY POSTSEASON STATS: 10 Games 8.2 Innings Pitched 7 Strikeouts
  • The Second Australian Devil Ray (after LHP Damian Moss, 2004)
  • Struck out 36.6 percent of batters faced on the season in 2008 — 3rd highest percentage all-time among AL relievers; also led the Majors in that category
  • Led all major league relievers in 2008 with a 12.65 SO/9 IP (58.1-IP, 82-SO); this mark ranked 9th all-time among AL relievers
  • His 1.54 ERA in 2008 was 4th-best among ML relievers
  • His .143 opp avg. (28-196) in 2008 led AL relievers, ranked 2nd in MLB; tied for 7th-lowest opp avg. ever recorded by an AL reliever
  • Held opponents to a .230 slugging pct in 2008, 2nd lowest among ML relievers
  • Led all Devil Rays relievers in 2008 in ERA, opp avg. and SO/9 IP; was also tied with J.P. Howell for the team lead in wins
  • Introduced the band Midnight Oil to American audiences

43. Tino Martinez 1B/DH 2004

  • DEVIL RAY STATS: May 23 2004, Tropicana Field, hit a 1-out bases-loaded walkoff RBI single in the bottom of the 10th to lead the Devil Rays past Cleveland
  • DEVIL RAY STATS: 138 Games 63 Runs 120 Hits 20 Doubles 1 Triple 23 HR 76 RBI 3 SB 66 BB 117 OPS+
  • Received the “Good Guy” award in 2004 from the Tampa Bay chapter of BBWAA
  • Among the Devil Rays Single-Season Leaders for Intentional Walks (9, 2004, tied-6th), and HBP (9, 2004, tied-8th)
  • His 9 Intentional Walks are also tied for 7th-most in a Devil Ray career

42. Ty Wigginton 2B/3B/1B/DH/OF (2006-2007)

  • DEVIL RAY MOMENT: September 1 2001, Tropicana Field, hit a pinch-hit walkoff RBI single to give the Devil Rays a 2-1 win over Seattle
  • DEVIL RAY STATS: 220 Games 102 Runs 226 Hits 46 Doubles 1 Triple 40 HR 128 RBI 5 SB 60 BB .275 AVG 109 OPS+
  • Tied Fred McGriff’s Devil Ray record for most home runs in a season at historic Tropicana Field (18, 2006)
  • Tied Fred McGriff’s Devil Ray record for RBI in April (24, 2006)
  • In 2006 led the Devil Rays in HR (24), RBI (79), Doubles (25), and Game-Tying or Go-Ahead RBI (30)
  • First Devil Ray to lead the AL in RBI during a season (until May 5 2006)

41. Jorge Sosa P (2002-2004)

  • DEVIL RAY MOMENT: September 4 2003, Tropicana Field, shut out the Mariners for 9 innings, striking out 6 while allowing only 4 hits and 2 walks to earn the win in a 1-0 Devil Rays triumph
  • DEVIL RAY STATS: 103 Games 41 Starts 11 Wins 1 Complete Game 1 Shutout 1 Save 327.1 Innings Pitched 214  Strikeouts
  • Set a Devil Ray record for most strikeouts by a relief pitcher (8, August 17 2003 vs. Cleveland)
  • Held opponents to a .236 AVG in 2002, leading the Devil Rays, and ranking 3rd among AL rookies

Special thanks to Pat and Christin of patchristin.com for permission to use their photos.

Previously….

#177: Kevin “Witter” Witt, #176: Damion Easley, #175: Jason Smith, #174: Justin Ruggiano, #173: Dwight Gooden, #172: Danny Clyburn, #171: Delvin James, #170: Steve Parris, #169: Pete LaForest, #168: Terry Shumpert, #167: Jon Switzer, #166: Chris Singleton, #165: David Lamb, #164: Ozzie Guillen, #163: Jason Standridge, #162: Brook Fordyce, #161: Midre Cummings, #160: Tomas Perez, #159: Juan Salas, #158: Felix Escalona, #157: Mark Guthrie, #156: Scott Aldred, #155: Scott Dohmann, #154: Rusty Meacham, #153: Javier Valentin, #152: Brian Stokes, #151: Chad Harville, #150: Shawn Riggans, #149: Fernando Perez, #148: Carlos Reyes, #147: Nick Bierbrodt, #146: Jorge Velandia, #145: Robert Fick, #144: Paul Abbott, #143: Dan “The Missile” Miceli, #142: Steve Kent, #141: Josh Paul, #140: Antonio Perez, #139: Brandon Backe, #138: Jason Johnson, #137: Chad Gaudin, #136: Andy Sheets, #135: Shawn Camp, #134: Vinny Castilla, #133: Russell Branyan, #132: Raul Casanova, #131: Josh Phelps, #130: Korean Sensation Jae Weong Seo, #129: Jeff Wallace, #128: Terrell Lowery, #127: Norm Charlton, #126: Alan “Al” Levine, #125: Al Martin, #124: The Lethal Weapon Gary Glover, #123: Rich Butler, #122: Brian Meadows, #121: Joe Borowski, #120: Elijah Dukes, #119: Chad Orvella, #118: Josh Wilson, #117: Troy Percival, #116: Tony Graffanino, #115: Geoff Blum, #114: Joey Gathright, #113: Herb Perry
#112-109: Alex Sanchez, Rey Ordonez, Rey Sanchez & Jason Conti
#108-105: Hideo Nomo, Eduardo Perez, Dave Eiland & Travis Phelps
#104-101: Ben “Zorilla” Zobrist, Mike Kelly, Trever Miller & Felix Martinez
#100-97: Dan Johnson, David Price, Al “The Eraser” Reyes & Cliff “Dr. Huxtable” Floyd
#96-93: Nick Green, Tim Corcoran, Doug Creek & Dan Wheeler
#92-89: Jason Hammel, Jose Guillen, Dennis Springer & Cory Lidle
#88-85: Jared Sandberg, Russ Johnson, Gabe Gross & Jason Tyner
#84-81: Danys Baez, Julio Santana, Dewon Brazelton & Alex S. Gonzalez
#80-77: Bobby Smith, Damon Hollins, Greg Norton & Paul Sorrento
#76-73: Ruddy Lugo, John Halama, Seth McClung & Kevin Stocker
#72-69: Damian Rolls, J.P. Howell, Brent Abernathy & Jim Mecir
#68-65: Willy Aybar, Aaron Ledesma, Eric “Shitske” Hinske & Lance Carter
#64-61: Rob Bell, Steve Trachsel, Mike Difelice & Jeremi Gonzalez
#60-57: Chris Young, Delmon Young, Wade Boggs & Marlon Anderson
#56-53: Doug Waechter, Dave Martinez, Jason Bartlett & Roberto Hernandez
#52-49: Gerald “Ice” Williams, Bubba Trammel, Quinton McCracken & Rick White
#48-45: Jesus Colome, Jose Canseco, Bobby Witt & Dioner “The Fat Catcher” Navarro

The Top 25 Devil Rays Ever (in advent calendar form)

*Based on players’ entire Devil Ray careers (through 2008, 2009 not included) and regardless of position. Special thanks to B&C’s Robotto Clemente for crunching the numbers.

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