January 30: The Devil Rays name their first two managers: Tom Foley, who played 13 seasons in the Major Leagues, will manage at Butte in the Pioneer League and Bill Evers, with 16 years of managing or coaching experience in the minor leagues, will lead the St. Petersburg club in the Gulf Coast Rookie League.
May 7: The Devil Rays announce they will host Spring Training in St. Petersburg in 1998, becoming the first team in the "modern era" to host spring training in their home city. The National League's St. Louis Cardinals will leave after training in St. Petersburg since 1946.
June 3: The Devil Rays begin their first mini-camp as 24 players, all free agents signed before the June draft, assemble at Huggins-Stengel complex in St. Petersburg under the watchful eye of the Rays' coaching staff directed by field coordinator Tom Foley.
June 4: Outfielder-first baseman Paul Wilder becomes the Rays' first ever draft pick as the team participates in its first free agent amateur draft. Devil Rays Managing Partner Vince Naimoli announces the selection while in the team's "war room" at the Stouffer-Vinoy Resort in St. Petersburg. The Rays eventually select 97 players, the fifth highest total ever taken in the 32-year history of the June draft.
June 18: The Hudson Valley Renegades, the Rays' cooperative team in the New York-Penn League with the Texas Rangers, faces the New Jersey Cardinals at Skylands Park in Augusta, NJ, in the first game involving Rays players. Catcher Chris Anderson, the Devil Rays' 66th-round draft choice from Southeast Oklahoma State University, delivers an RBI single in the second inning for the first hit ever by a Devil Rays player. The Renegades lose 7-6 in 10 innings.
June 19: A Gulf Coast League record crowd of 7,582 are on hand at Al Lang Stadium as the GCL Devil Rays host their Yankee counterparts in the first Devil Rays game. A 10-1 loss doesn't dampen the festive atmosphere nor the unbridled affection that is showered down on the young Rays. News Radio 970-WFLA and SportsChannel Florida broadcast the game live. Eighteen-year-old right-hander Pablo Ortega throws the first Devil Rays pitch (a ball).
June 19: Butte infielder Jim Kerr hits the first home run in Devil Rays history in the Copper Kings' Pioneer League opener against Idaho Falls.
June 20: The Gulf Coast League Devil Rays earn the first win in the history of the organization with a 4-3 triumph over the GCL Astros. Eighteen-year-old Jose Rodriguez from the Dominican Republic gets the win.
October 3: Tropicana Field is born. The Devil Rays and Tropicana Dole Beverages North America, of nearby Bradenton, FL, announce an agreement to rename the ThunderDome. The City of St. Petersburg receives more than $13 million as a result of the agreement.
October 7: Vince Naimoli and St. Petersburg Mayor David Fischer preside over the official groundbreaking ceremony for the 15- month, $63 million Tropicana Field renovations.
October 15: The Devil Rays name Jamie Reed as Major League head trainer, the first on-field hire for the 1998 Major League Devil Rays.
November 21: Durham (NC) officially becomes the Devil Rays Triple-A franchise for 1998 as that city was awarded one of two expansion franchises for Triple-A by the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues. The Devil Rays and Capitol Broadcasting Co., Inc. jointly own the new Durham franchise that will continue to be called the "Bulls."