Sunday, November 19, 2017
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays Tales: Former stars who finished careers with Tampa Bay Rays

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Inked up

So just how many tattoos does new INF Ryan Roberts have? Not even he knows. "I have no idea," Roberts said. "I had different ones at different times, and then I started getting them all filled in and once I started, I don't even know how to count them. I could guess 30, I could guess 100. I have no idea. I really don't."

Roberts, 31, got his first when he was 19, a cross on his arm as a nod to his Christian upbringing, then it just took off from there. "I really wasn't planning on getting anything else, then progressing through college and my life things started happening that I wanted to keep with me," he said. "I got three, four, five, six, and it ended up the way it is now. It's kind of crazy. I've got everything, man. Anything significant in my life is on my body."



Hideki Matsui is the latest notable player to make a name for himself elsewhere but (most likely) end his career with the distinction of playing his final game in a Rays — or Devil Rays — uniform. Among the more interesting Rays retirees:

Wade Boggs

Finale: Aug. 27, 1999; .301 average in 90 games

Farewell: Boggs got his 3,000th hit on Aug. 7, had season-ending knee surgery a few weeks later and retired at the end of the season with 3,010 hits and a .328 average that landed him in Cooperstown.

Ozzie Guillen

Finale: Oct. 1, 2000; hit .243 in 63 games

Farewell: Guillen was a decent backup in 2000 but got released at the end of the next spring and, at age 37, retired: "If you couldn't make the Devil Rays, you had to quit," he often joked. "You didn't belong in the big leagues." He remains, however, the only former Rays player to manage in the majors.

John Rocker

Finale: May 14, 2003; 9.00 ERA in his two games

Farewell: Another last-fling veteran signed with the Devil Rays that April, worked in the minors until mid May and lasted all of two games, then had surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff. At least he didn't say anything controversial.

Fred McGriff

Finale: July 15, 2004; .181 average, two homers in 27 games

Farewell: Three years after being traded away, the "Crime Dog" came back to his hometown team for the chance — with the Devil Rays or anyone else — to get the nine homers he needed for 500, but he managed only two and was gone by July.

Roberto Alomar *

Finale: March 18, 2005; during spring training.

Farewell: Alomar was slotted to be the Rays second baseman in 2005, but his struggles (back and vision problems) in spring play were painfully obvious, and he retired abruptly, actually expediting his path to Cooperstown. Technically his last game was Sept. 5, 2004, with the White Sox.

Hank Blalock

Finale: June 27, 2010; hit .264 in 26 games

Farewell: The slimmed-down former All-Star didn't have much to offer after signing a minor-league deal and getting back to the majors — four extra-base hits in 63 at-bats — and, after much ado, he was released.

Manny Ramirez

Finale: April 6, 2011; .059 (1-for-17) in five games before retiring

Farewell: A spring of buildup fizzled fast with a rough start, word that he had failed a drug test and his decision to run and retire rather than fight it. He cut a deal for time served to make a comeback with Oakland this season but didn't make it out of the minors.

Hideki Matsui

Finale: July 22, 2012; .147 average in 34 games

Farewell: Matsui, left on the market all winter, got an extended opportunity with the Rays after signing a minor-league deal, but he couldn't deliver, going out — assuming he's done — on an 0-for-16 skid.

And five others …

RHP Juan Guzman, 2000

Won 91 games in nine years elsewhere; got five outs total (for about $13 million) as a Devil Ray.

RHP Ken Hill, 2001

Won 117 games over 13 seasons with six other teams, none with the Rays.

C Charles Johnson, 2005

Two-time former Marlins All-Star had nothing left, and it showed.

1B Travis Lee, 2006

Spent three of his last four seasons with the Devil Rays, but at the end you hardly knew he was there.

RHP Troy Percival, 2009

Contributed heavily to '08 success, but he missed the playoffs and didn't do much in '09.

Got a minute? | Ryan Roberts

Something that scares you? Sharks. I don't go in the ocean.

Favorite TV show? Dexter.

Go-to karaoke song? No karaoke for me. I was joking around singing the national anthem before batting practice once and I heard myself over the speakers, and it's not good. So no more singing for me.

Late-night snack? Definitely something sweet — chocolate-covered pretzels.

Celebrity crush? Let's say Katy Perry.

Rays Rumblings

Big-leaguers on rehab assignments typically buy dinner for their minor-league mates after their last game. OF Sam Fuld did that (Chipotle) and more when the Stone Crabs played near his Jupiter home: He made them dinner one night, grilling 40 burgers and bringing them over. … 1B/DH Henry Wrigley is soon to be 26 and has fewer than 250 at-bats above Double A, but people who have seen him hit at Triple-A Durham say he has legit power. … Word from Japan is 1B/OF Brandon Allen, who asked the Rays to let him go, will get about $500,000 for two months (more than he would have gotten had he played all year in the majors), and the Rays got somewhere around $300,000 for selling him. … 3B Evan Longoria tweeted about his girlfriend, Jaime Edmondson, who landed an impressive catfish catch during an appearance with the guys from Animal Planet's Hillbilly Handfishing show; there's a youtube.com video — see tinyurl.com/d7v69gv.

   
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