The Tampa Bay Rays are in their 23rd season of Major League Baseball. They are one of six teams to have never won a World Series. Although they are down 3-2 in the World Series to the Los Angeles Dodgers, they remain two wins from ending their drought. The small-market Rays have never been a team loaded with superstars. Have they ever had a player who has been inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame?
The Tampa Bay Rays had an outstanding 2020
While most everyone else in the world was down in 2020, the Tampa Bay Rays flourished. As the coronavirus (COVID-19) spread throughout the world, Major League Baseball was forced to make adjustments. The start of the season was pushed back, forcing MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred to condense the regular season into 60 games.
The 2020 MLB season was played with zero fans in attendance. Major League Baseball increased the number of playoff teams to 16 and it has now come down to the Rays and the Los Angeles Dodgers. During the regular season, the Rays finished with a 40-20 mark, seven games better than the second-place New York Yankees in the AL East.
This is the second World Series appearance by the Tampa Bay Rays. Tampa also made the World Series in 2008 when the Rays had their first winning season. The team began play in Major League Baseball in 1998 as the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. They dropped the name ‘Devil’ prior to the 2008 season and made the World Series. They lost to the Philadelphia Phillies.
The Rays are a small-market team
The Tampa Bay Rays have never been a big player in free agency. The team is usually last or near the bottom of the attendance list every season. Fans are hard to come by. For the first 10 years of their existence, the Rays never had a winning season. They finished in last place except for the 2004 season when they were second to last.
The Rays have had some big-time veterans come along to play at the end of their careers. Fred McGriff, Jose Canseco, and Wade Boggs come to mind when it comes to big-league stars on the team. Tampa has developed some young players, including former No. 1 pick David Price, only to see them leave when the Rays couldn’t afford to pay them.
Despite their lack of big-named players, the Rays have shed the laughingstock label. Under manager Kevin Cash, the Rays have been extremely competitive. In the last three seasons, they have been outstanding. Prior to this year’s World Series appearance, the team won at last 90 games in 2018 and 2019.
Have the Rays ever had a player inducted into the Hall of Fame?
In their 23 years of existence, the Tampa Bay Rays have had one former player inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Wade Boggs is the lone member of the Tampa Bay Rays to reach the Hall of Fame. Boggs played just two years with the then-Devil Rays and was inducted in 2005.
Boggs played for the Tampa Bay Devil Ras in the first two years of the teams existence – 1998 and 1999. He hit the first home run in team history during the sixth inning of the team’s first-ever game. Boggs also had another meaningful home run with the Rays. On Aug. 7, 1999, Boggs, not known for his power, smacked another homer which was the 3,000th hit of his career.
With that homer, he became the first player to ever get his 3,000th his via a home run. Two others, Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez, have done it since. Boggs played 18 years in the big leagues. He spent the first 11 years with the Boston Red Sox. He then played five seasons with the New York Yankees, and then the final two in Tampa.