Thursday, September 20, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Evan Longoria: His greatest Rays moments

1. 2011: Game 162 homer

Joining Bobby Thomson as the only players to hit walkoff homers in the final regular season games to put their teams into the postseason is pretty good company. That it was Longoria’s second homer of the game and in the 12th inning of a game the Rays trailed 7-0 made it even more dramatic. (That the day after starting just the third triple play in franchise history.)

2. 2008: Postseason smash

As if debuting in the majors, signing a long-term big-bucks deal, getting voted to the All-Star Game and posting numbers good enough to later win the AL Rookie of the Year Award wasn’t enough of a 2008 debut, Longoria was a big hit when he got to the postseason. He homered on his first two swings in the Division Series opener, and six times overall in the postseason, a record for any rookie.

3. 2017: Cycle time

Longoria showed some unexpected speed and got some help from the replay system on Aug. 1 in Houston in becoming the second player in franchise history to hit for the cycle, joining B.J. Upton with a feat about as rare as a no-hitter.

4. 2008: For the defense

The skills that would lead to Longoria winning three Gold Gloves were evident early, including the introduction of what became his signature play, charging in to field a bunt barehanded and throwing out the runner. More so in this June 17, 2008, it was against the high-flying Cubs and Lou Piniella, and it was the final out — a walkoff defensive play.

5. 2006: For introductions

We defer to Longoria to include this one, more so than his three-homer games, All-Star Game feats, 2013 Game 163 homer at Texas, even catching the final out of the playoffs clincher in 2008. This was Longoria’s first day as a pro, when he took BP at the Trop and did so poorly, hitting "maybe two balls out of the infield,’’ he acknowledged anyone watching had to be wondering how in the world he was the No. 3 pick in the draft. "I’ve talked about that moment probably more than any other,’’ he said.

Marc Topkin can be reached at [email protected] Follow @TBTimes_Rays

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