The Rays, and especially the Devil Rays, don't have much of an All-Star legacy. But given their limited participation, they've actually been involved in some significant and memorable moments. With LHP Matt Moore and INF/OF Ben Zobrist poised to add to it tonight, here are the top five thus far:
1. 2009: Crawford's catch
With five players (though Evan Longoria was inactive), manager Joe Maddon and the coaching staff all part of the AL team, the odds were good the Rays would have some impact on the game. As it turned out, LF Carl Crawford made the play of the game and earned MVP honors. With the score tied at 3, Crawford raced back and leapt at the wall to deny Colorado's Brad Hawpe a go-ahead homer with a spectacular catch — the best of his career, he would say later. Interestingly, he did so using the glove of career minor-leaguer Jon Weber, having made a trade during spring training. Crawford did single to start the AL's tying fifth-inning rally, though he was forced out. He became the first — and still only — position player to win the MVP award without scoring or driving in a run. As a side note, Ben Zobrist caught the final out — and still has the ball.
2. 2008: Kazmir to the rescue
The Rays had their fingerprints all over the '08 game, which went on for 15 innings and didn't end until 1:35 a.m., a fitting farewell to the old Yankee Stadium. The headline belonged to LHP Scott Kazmir, who was not supposed to be used in the game after throwing 104 pitches two days earlier for the Rays. But there was no one left to pitch, and Kazmir came in to work the top of the 15th and ended up with the victory as the AL rallied. C Dioner Navarro — yes, he was an All-Star — failed in his first chance to end it, thrown out at home in the 11th trying to score from second, but came through in the 15th, singling with one out to move Justin Morneau to second as he eventually scored the winning run after a walk and a sac fly. And then-rookie 3B Evan Longoria did his part with a pinch-hit double leading off the eighth that tied the score, forcing the marathon. (Longoria had two subsequent chances to win the game, grounding out with the bases loaded in the 10th and striking out with a man on third in the 12th.)
3. 2010: For starters: Price, Crawford, Longoria
For so many years, the (Devil) Rays would have only one player on the team. In 2010 in Anaheim, they had three in the starting lineup. 3B Evan Longoria, playing in his hometown, and LF Carl Crawford were elected starters, and LHP David Price was chosen by AL manager Joe Girardi, though the AL lost 3-1. Price worked two impressive innings, allowing only one hit. Longoria doubled in his first at-bat, then walked and scored the AL's only run in his second. Crawford lined out, then reached on a fielder's choice and stole second.
4. 2002: Winn's run part of history
OF Randy Winn played a role in the philosophical change of making the All-Star Game count — with homefield advantage in the World Series now determined by the winner. Winn walked, stole second and scored in a four-run seventh as the AL closed to within 7-6, then got even in the eighth. When the game was still tied after 12 and the teams were out of pitchers, MLB made the change. Winn also doubled and struck out.
5. 2007: Crawford's home run
OF Carl Crawford wasn't known as much for his power. But he came off the bench and delivered a big blast, a sixth-inning home run off Francisco Cordero that extended the American Leaguers' lead to 3-1 and they ended up winning 5-4.
Marc Topkin can be reached at [email protected]