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History

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RAYS TIMELINE
1995-1997 | 1998-2000 | 2001-2003 | 2004-Present
Timeline 1995-1996
1995  - March 9: At a meeting in West Palm Beach, FL, Major League Baseball owners officially welcome the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and Arizona Diamondbacks as the 13th and 14th expansion teams in Major League history by a vote of 28-0.

April 17: The Devil Rays and the City of St. Petersburg agree on a 30-year lease for the team to play their home games at the ThunderDome.

July 19: The Devil Rays name Chuck LaMar as senior vice president of baseball operations and general manager. LaMar helped build the Atlanta Braves into a powerhouse, first as Director of Scouting and Player Development and later as Assistant General Manager.

September 26: The Devil Rays sign their first player - Adam Sisk, a 6-4 right-handed pitcher from Edison Community College in Fort Myers, Florida.

November 2: The Devil Rays unveil their official 1998 game uniforms during a special "fashion show" at the Florida Aquarium.

1996  - 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."

1997  - January 16: Major League Baseball owners, at their meetings in Phoenix, Arizona, place the Devil Rays into the American League by a vote of 28-2. The Devil Rays become the American League's 15th franchise.

January 25: The Devil Rays sign former Boston Red Sox outfielder Gregg Blosser, from Sarasota, the organization's first player with Major League experience.

February 10: The Devil Rays sign a working agreement with the Mexico City Tigers of the Mexican League.

March 13: John Kaufman, Tom Bergan, Matt Williams, and Jamie Ybarra combine to throw a no-hitter as the Rays defeated the Phillies, 6-0, in the team's first ever minor league Spring Training game.

April 21: The Devil Rays sign right-handed pitcher Rolando Arrojo, the ace of the Cuban Natiional Team.

August 28: The Devil Rays become only the second major league club to sign a working agreement with a Japanese League team, signing a two-year contract with the Seibu Lions with a four-year option extending through 2002.

October 15: Major League Baseball approves a resolution creating a 16-team National League and a 14-team American League for the 1998 season. The Devil Rays are placed in the American League Eastern Division with the Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees and Toronto Blue Jays.

November 7: The Devil Rays name Florida Marlins pitching coach Larry Rothschild as the club's first manager.

November 11: The Devil Rays acquire outfielder Mike Kelly from the Cincinnati Reds for a player to be named later in the club's first-ever trade involving a Major League player. Kelly becomes the first player added to the Rays' 40-man Major League roster.

November 18: The Devil Rays select 35 players in the Major League Expansion Draft, held in Phoenix, Arizona. The Rays select left- handed pitcher Tony Saunders from the Florida Marlins with the first pick in the draft. At the conclusion of the draft, the Rays trade four of their selections and wind up with four frontline players: first baseman Fred McGriff, right- handed pitcher Roberto Hernandez, shortstop Kevin Stocker, and catcher John Flaherty.

November 22: The infield dirt is poured at Tropicana Field.

December 6: Individual tickets for the 1998 season go on sale to the general public. Opening Day sells out in 17 minutes.

December 9: The Devil Rays sign free agent third baseman Wade Boggs.

1995-1997 | 1998-2000 | 2001-2003 | 2004-Present