One of the newest teams in Major League Baseball, the Tampa Bay Rays began play in 1998, known as the Devil Rays. Incredibly, their fortunes reversed almost immediately upon removing the “Devil” from their name! While they have still yet to earn the ultimate glory in the sport with a World Series win, they did collect an American League Pennant in 2008 and have been consistently strong ever since. With shrewd moves and a smart management team, the Rays have been able to not only survive, but also contend in their stacked AL East division that also features the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees, two of baseball’s highest spending clubs!
Although the Major League team in the area is relatively new, many professional clubs have played their spring training games in the area for a century. Therefore, the area around St. Petersburg, Florida has become a baseball hotbed during the spring months as fans visit the area to catch their favorite teams in pre-season games, in addition to hitting the nice beaches.
But in the mid 90s, Tampa Bay pushed for a team and the Rays were formed. Although they were able to recruit decent players like Wade Boggs, Jose Canseco, and Vinny Castilla, the club would be a consistent loser throughout their early years. In fact, it took until 2004 before the team finished ahead of last place in their division!
However, under new ownership the club began to contend later in the decade. Great pitching led the way in 2008 as guys like James Shields, Matt Garza, Scott Kazmir, and David Price began to dominate the opposition. Hitters like Carl Crawford and Evan Longoria would inspire the club as well. Incredibly, the Tampa Bay Rays pushed on ahead and earned their first trip to the postseason, winning the AL East division!
In the playoffs, a real feel of destiny emerged with the young and ever-hungry Rays. They pushed aside the Chicago White Sox and the Red Sox to earn an AL Pennant and a trip to the World Series! But unfortunately the dream would end unfulfilled as the free-spending Philadelphia Phillies were able to claim the title.
In 2009, the Rays continued their solid play but ultimately missed out on the playoffs despite having a winning record. They would manage to take the 2010 AL East division but lost in the first round of the playoffs.
By 2011, the core group of All Stars began to slowly depart and the team would struggle to regain their production. Nevertheless, the team went into the final game of the year with the postseason on the line and persevered in the most dramatic fashion. After overcoming a 7 run deficit in the 8th inning to beat the Yankees, another game featuring the rival Red Sox contained a late-game collapse, and the Tampa Bay Rays were back in the playoffs!
Another playoff appearance cemented the team’s strength in 2013, but a second World Series trip has remained elusive. However, the Rays are certainly a team that has been full of surprises throughout their young history and I suspect they will earn that title one day soon. Having been in contention for a solid 5 straight years now, their moment will surely come…
AAA Sports Memorabilia has a great selection of Tampa Bay Rays autographed memorabilia both online and offline. Collectors go to great lengths to find and acquire collectibles that have significance to them. Autograph collectors are always looking for that unique autograph, a game-used item, or an autographed collectible that depicts a great moment in sports history. Since 2006, AAA Sports Memorabilia has been helping sports collectors in finding these great collectibles. All of our autographed sports memorabilia, including our autographed Tampa Bay Rays collectibles, are guaranteed for life to be authentic or your money back. Our autographed memorabilia is obtained during private sessions with the athletes and a representative is there to watch each signature being applied to the collectible.
Visiting our Tampa Bay Rays autographed sports memorabilia section often is best if you are looking for that next valuable Tampa Bay Rays collectible to add to your collection. We have even more autographed Tampa Bay Rays memorabilia in stock then what is on our website, so if you can’t find that collectible that you really want on our site, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to see if we have it in stock.