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September 25, 2009 at 7:17 am ET
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The FINAL TGIT177DREF! The Top 177 Devil Rays Ever: #28-26

“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 have counted down The Top 177* Devil Rays Ever….

This week’s TGIT177DREF marks the end of a year-long journey begun last December.   I’d like to dedicate the entire series to the man who has made this series possible, in addition to so many fantastic pieces by myself and my esteemed colleagues. To Jesse Pugh, the founder and now former editor of Bugs & Cranks, we all offer you 177 heartfelt thank yous.

And now the 28th, 27th and 26th Greatest Devil Rays Ever are….

t177dre2826251

28. Ben Grieve OF/DH (2001-2003)

  • DEVIL RAY MOMENT: April 14 2002, Tropicana Field, with 2 outs in the bottom of the 10th, delivered a walkoff RBI single to lift the Devil Rays to a 5-4 triumph over the Blue Jays
  • DEVIL RAY STATS: 345 Games 162 Runs 302 Hits 67 Doubles 2 Triples 34 HR 153 RBI 15 SB 188 BB 105 OPS+
  • Ranked 9th in the AL in Walks in 2001 (87)
  • Set Devil Ray record for most HR by a RF (19, 2002)
  • Set a Devil Ray record for most doubles in a month (14, June 2002)
  • Ranks 7th on the Devil Ray career walk list (188)
  • Among the Devil Ray single-season leaders in Walks (5th, 87, 2001); OBP (7th, .372, 2001) and Games Played (tied-10th, 154, 2001)

27. Miguel Cairo 2B/DH (1998-2000)

  • DEVIL RAY STATS: April 6 2000, Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, finished a HR short of the cycle, hit a 2-out RBI single in the 9th to put the Devil Rays ahead of the Twins for good; drove in 5 of the Devil Rays runs in a 7-6 triumph
  • DEVIL RAY STATS: 389 Games 159 Runs 373 Hits 59 Doubles 12 Triples 9 HR 116 RBI 69 SB 77 BB .275 AVG
  • Led the majors in 1998 with a .412 average on full-count pitches (14-for-34); also ranked 7th in the AL in 1998 on 0-2 counts with a .303 average (10-for-33)
  • Set a Devil Ray record for SB in a season (28, 2000); now ranks 9th all-time
  • Among the Devil Ray career leaders in Stolen Bases (5th, 69); Triples (6th, 12); Hits (9th, 373); and Games Played (10th, 389);
  • Tied for 10th on the Devil Ray single-season batting average list (.295, 1999)
  • Among The AL Leaders in AB/SO Ratio in 1998 and 1999 (11.705, 3rd; 10.109, 8th)
  • Ranked 7th in the AL in SB in 2000 (28)
  • Was a unanimous selection to the Topps Major League All-Rookie team in 1998
  • First Opening Day Second Baseman

26. Wilson Alvarez P (1998-1999, 2002)

  • DEVIL RAY MOMENT: April 12 1998, Comiskey Park, limited the White Sox to one run on four hits and one walk over 8 innings, also struck out 7 to earn the victory in a 4-1 Devil Ray triumph
  • DEVIL RAY STATS: 76 Games 17 Wins 63 Starts 1 Complete Game 1 Save 377.2 Innings Pitched 291 Strikeouts 103 ERA+
  • Opening Day Pitcher for the first two seasons
  • Among the Devil Rays career leaders in Strikeouts (7th, 291); and Starts (tied-8th, 63)
  • First Devil Ray to strike out 11 batters in one game (June 25 1999)

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
#44-41: Grant Balfour, Tino Martinez, Ty Wigginton & Jorge Sosa
#40-37: Edwin Jackson, Brendan Harris, Casey Fossum & Jose Cruz Jr.
#36-33: Steve Cox, Bryan Rekar, Jorge Cantu & Travis Lee
#32-29: Tony Saunders, Greg Vaughn, Evan Longoria & Andy Sonnanstine

The Top 25 Devil Rays Ever were done in advent calendar form):

#25 Rolando Arrojo

#24 Paul Wilson
#23 Akinori Iwamura
#22 Jonny Gomes
#21 Mark Hendrickson
#20 Joe Kennedy
#19 Tanyon Sturtze
#18 Matt Garza
#17 John Flaherty
#16 Albie Lopez
#15 Esteban Yan
#14 Ryan Rupe
#13 Travis Harper
#12 Victor Zambrano
#11 EGDC Carlos Pena
#10 B.J. Upton
#9 TMOTMCC James Shields
#8 Randy Winn
#7 Toby Hall
#6 Rocco Baldelli
#5 Julio Lugo
#4 The Crime Dog Fred McGriff
#3 Scott Kazmir
#2 Aubrey Huff
#1 Carl Crawford

*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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