“The worst Devil Rays player at every position in the history of the franchise. So many candidates, so few spots. [Rays Index]”
When I saw that on this website’s Rounding The Bases feature, I was a little taken aback. “There’s an entire website devoted to the Devil Rays not run by the Devil Rays?” was my first thought.
But when I checked out the piece, I gradually became angrier and angrier.
In case you haven’t noticed, our Tampa Bay Devil Rays are severely lacking in respekanition.
BUT, we really have had some damn good players.
According to the site’s mastermind, “The Professor” aka Cork Gaines, he (or they, it’s hard to tell if he’s using the royal “We” or if he really does have help) tried to come up with a Best Of team but “had a hard time filling out the roster.”
I think that’s bullshit. If he had really tried, filling out the roster would not have been a problem, the hard choices are who to leave off.
I think what really happened is he thought a worst team was an easier way to get cheap laughs, and if that sets back our Rays quest for respekanition so be it.
Well, I for one won’t stand for it. If that’s the way tRaytor Index wants to play it, fine. But I want everyone to know there really have been some spectacular players who have had spectacular years as Devil Rays.
The proof is The Real All-Time Devil Rays Team Of Glory, selected using the same standards* “The Prof” set up for his Sucktitude Squad.
Enjoy and Respekanize….
C: John Flaherty (1999) 53 R 14 HR 71 RBI .278 BA
Called out by tRaytor Index for his 1998 campaign, Flaherty had a pretty strong year in 1999, the best of his 5 years behind the plate for our Rays.
1B: Fred McGriff (1999) 75 R 32 HR 104 RBI .310 BA
The Crime Dog represented the Rays in the All-Star Game in 2000, but 1999 was the best of his 5 seasons in Tampa.
2B: Marlon Anderson (2003) 59 R 6 HR 67 RBI .270 BA
A great clutch hitter in 2003, Anderson hit .341 with runners in scoring position (8th-best in the AL). He was especially clutch against the Yankees, breaking up a Roger Clemens no-hitter in the 8th inning and hitting his first career grand slam off Al Reyes.
3B: Wade Boggs (1999) 40 R 2 HR 29 RBI .301 BA
In 1999, Boggs collected his 3,000 hit by homering in a game against Cleveland at The Trop. His number 12 was the first to be retired by the Devil Rays on April 7, 2000.
SS: Brendan Harris (2007) 50 R 8 HR 43 RBI .298 BA
Harris got off to a hot start, homering in his first official Devil Ray at-bat, a 3-run blast off Toronto’s Tomo Ohka, and is having a breakout year after playing sparingly in parts of three previous seasons.
LF: Carl Crawford (2005) 101 R 15 HR 81 RBI .301 BA
A year after making his first All-Start team, 3 Dawg set career highs in batting average, home runs and RBI. He also led the AL in triples (as he did in 2004 and 2006).
CF: Randy Winn (2002) 87 R 14 HR 75 RBI .298 BA
In the 2002 All-Star game in Milwaukee, Winn doubled and stole a base. In June, he tied an AL record with 8 extra-base hits in a 3-game span. He was also voted the Rays team MVP while being in the top in the AL for singles, doubles, triples, steals and outfield assists.
RF: Aubrey Huff (2003) 91 R 34 HR 107 RBI .311 BA
In 2003, Huff set club marks for average and RBI and lots of other things, and tied Jose Canseco’s home run record. Only 11 other players had ever had as many hits, doubles, home runs and RBI — including names like Gehrig, Greenberg, Mattingly, Hornsby and Robinson.
DH: Jose Canseco (1999) 75 R 34 HR 95 RBI .279 BA
Canseco set the franchise mark for home runs — almost entirely in the first half (31 first-half home runs). He was selected to the All-Star game but did not play because of a back injury. He hit his 400th home run in 1999, and in fewer games than anyone other than Babe Ruth and Mark McGwire. It was the last great season of his glorious career.
Rolando Arrojo (1998) 14-12 3.56 ERA 202 IP 152 SO 65 BB
Born in Havana, Cuba, Arrojo was the winning pitcher in the Rays first ever victory and became our first Devil Ray All-Star in a spectacular rookie season. His 14 wins is still the best in D-Ray history, his 2 shutouts in a single season is still tied for the franchise mark.
Victor Zambrano (2003) 12-10 4.21 ERA 188.1 IP 132 SO 106 BB
In his last full season with our Rays, The Big V.Z. from Venezuela, led the club in victories, starts, innings pitched and punchouts. Plus he carried the momentum through the first half of ’04 increasing his trade value enough for the Rays to land….
Scott Kazmir (2006) 10-8 3.24 ERA 144.2 IP 163 SO 52 BB
Kaz made his first All-Star game and led our Rays in wins, ERA, and strikeouts last year.
Mark Hendrickson (2005) 11-8 5.90 ERA 178.1 IP 89 SO 49 BB
A 6’9″ giant of a man, Hendrickson led the team in victories for the second straight season in ’05. Best of all, he was 3-0 in 4 starts against the Yankees, helping our Rays take the season series.
James Shields (2007) 8-7 4.45 ERA 157.2 IP 134 SO 29 BB
Shields, aka The Master Of The Modified Circle Change (TMOTMCC), opened the year unbeaten in his first 13 starts — a feat equaled by only 17 other pitchers in the past 25 years. He also became the first Ray pitcher to win his first 6 decisions.
CLOSER: Roberto Hernandez (1999) 43 SV 2-3 3.07 ERA 73.1 IP 69 SO 33 BB
Roberto “No Mas” Hernandez made his second All-Star team and still holds the Rays record for saves. He also finished 10th in the AL Cy Young voting.
Albie Lopez (1998) 1 SV 7-4 2.60 ERA 79.2 IP 62 SO 32 BB
Taken by the Rays with their 48th pick in the expansion draft, Lopez had a career year in 1998.
Jim Mecir (1998) 7-2 3.11 ERA 84 IP 77 SO 33 BB
Born with two club feet, Jim Mecir was another expansion draftee (#36). He was traded in 200 for Jesus Colome, who also made this team of honor.
Travis Harper (2004) 6-2 3.89 ERA 78.2 IP 59 SO 23 BB
For his 2005 performance, Harper made the tRaytor Index Suckitude Team, but he had a phenomenal year in ’04. He led the team in wins out of the pen, including going 4 innings to get the victory when the Rays won their 12th straight game in June.
Esteban Yan (1998) 5-4 3.86 ERA 88.2 IP 77 SO 41 BB
Another tRaytor Index dishonoree, Yan had a spectacular rookie season and earned the victory in the Rays second-ever win (which put them over .500 for the first time). He also pitched 5 perfect innings to earn a win in a 14-inning game against the Twins. Only four other AL relievers pitched more innings.
Travis Phelps (2001) 5 SV 2-2 3.48 ERA 62 IP 54 SO 24 BB
Phelps was another Rays reliever who had a spectacular rookie year, but couldn’t keep it up. He earned his first Major League victory by getting Derek Jeter to ground into a game-ending double-play.
Jesus Colome (04) 3 SV 2-2 3.27 ERA 41.1 IP 40 SO 18 BB
Also called out by tRaytor Index, Colome sparkled in 2004 holding opposing batters to a .193 average. He also had a 14 inning scoreless streak.
Manager: Lou Piniella (2004) 70-91 4th place
An easy pick — Captain Lou led the club to their best finish ever and most wins ever.
So next time you’re drinking and some schmuck tries to give you crap about being a Devil Rays fan — remember those 22 names, names we can be proud of, names we can glory in. Because while not all our Rays were, they really were great. And they deserve Respekanition.
*Position players were only considered for a position if they appeared in at least 81 games during the season and started more games at the respective position than any other player on the roster OR high-priced free agents.
Pitchers were considered if they started at least 18 games or made at least 30 appearances as a relief pitcher.