ST. PETERSBURG – The Rays are turning back the clock with more than just throwback Devil Rays uniforms today, honoring the inaugural 1998 team on the 20th anniversary of the first game in franchise history.
Eighteen 1998 players (headlined by Hall of Famer Wade Boggs), two coaches (Orlando Gomez, Greg Riddoch), GM Chuck LaMar and managing general partner Vince Naimoli are all expected at Trop for a series of memory-stirring events, topped by an on-field ceremony before the 6:10 p.m. game vs. Boston.
Wilson Alvarez, who threw the first pitch in franchise history, will have the ceremonial honors tonight, throwing to Mike DiFelice (standing in for starter John Flaherty, who has Yankees TV duties), with now-retired umpire Richie Garcia agaun behind the plate.
The Rays also will unveil a 20th anniversary exhibit in space near the team store and Ted Williams museum. Several 1998 players will sign autographs there starting around 4:30 p.m. after greet fans in the rotunda area when gates open at 4:10. Fans will received a 1998 replica seat cushion, similar to the purple ones given out at the inaugural game.
Other players scheduled to attend include: Rolando Arrojo, Rich Butler, Miguel Cairo, Rick Gorecki, Roberto Hernandez, Aaron Ledesma, Albie Lopez, Quinton McCracken, Jim Mecir, Bryan Rekar, Tony Saunders, Bobby Smith, Dennis Springer, Randy Winn and Esteban Yan.