We have compiled our list of the greatest moments in Rays history. Here is what some of those involved, in various ways, saw as the best (comments were edited for brevity and clarity):
“Brett Phillips’ hit during the (2020) World Series. Honestly, that would be in my top 10 baseball moments, not just Rays moments.”
Rays principal owner since October 2005
“To be fair, the greatest moment had to be the first pitch (in 1998). During my tenure, the greatest moment was Aki (Iwamura) catching the ball (for the final out of the 2008 ALCS). Too many things coalesced together, and it happened, and it was just amazing.
“It was that one time when you didn’t know until the ball got in the glove. You see a ball off the bat, you usually know if it’s going to be a hit. That ball got hit and I didn’t know what to think, and then he caught it. So you had all that, right? And after losing Game 5 and Game 6, coming as far as we did, and having it be the Red Sox, I could go on and on and on.
“Getting to the World Series, to me, is the feat. Winning the World Series is obviously the goal, but getting there is the feat. The greatest feat is winning the AL East. But getting to the Series is what defines you historically.”
Blue Jays centerfielder, long-time Ray
“Mike Brosseau’s homer in San Diego (off Aroldis Chapman in 2020′s ALDS-clinching Game 5 win over the Yankees). I know it was a crazy year with no fans or anything (due to the pandemic), but that was the favorite moment of my career. I think of all my firsts, my first homer, my first this or that, but nothing will ever be able to top that moment. Nothing. My heart rate has never been higher. Just a level of excitement.
“And I know how our dugout was, our clubhouse was that night, the after-party. It was the best night of my career, bar none. And I think I’m speaking for a lot of people — that was incredible.”
Rays TV broadcaster since 1998
“The biggest moment was Evan Longoria’s home run in (2011′s) Game 162. We should also get in there Wade Boggs’ homer for 3,000 hits, Dan Johnson’s homer, Matt Garza’s no-hitter.”
Twins manager, former Rays player and coach (and noted Kevin Cash provocateur)
Stay updated on Tampa Bay’s sports scene
Subscribe to our free Sports Today newsletter
You’re all signed up!
Want more of our free, weekly newsletters in your inbox? Let’s get started.Explore all your options
“Cash probably thinks it was his first day on the job, and even if it was, we would never say it. But it’s hard not to think that clinching a playoff berth (for the first time) in 2008 — Evan Longoria catching the pop-up behind third base. It’s hard not to look at that and say that was maybe the most monumental moment as a team.
“Collectively, for everyone off the field, on the field, fans, anyone that cares about the Tampa Bay Rays, you almost couldn’t believe what was going on in front of your eyes. … From that moment, it’s like things are different. There is kind of before that moment and after that moment.”
Pirates manager, former Rays hitting coach
“The greatest moment during my tenure is the walk-off Longo hit in Game 162. A lot of people put stock in that homer, but the homer he hit in the eighth (a two-out, three-run shot to cut the Yankees’ lead to 7-6) was also huge. There were so many things that went on in that game that people don’t realize — Sam Fuld pinch-hit and walked (with the bases loaded, ahead of Longoria’s homer), and Dan Johnson pinch-hit for Sam in the ninth (and hit the two-out, two-strikes, game-tying homer).
“Another thing that stands out was when we won the AL East in 2010 and flying home and we were greeted at the airport by fans. That was something.”
Radio broadcaster who died March 5, in a submission for the team’s 25th anniversary book
“The first three seasons (2005-2007, when he started) were a little rough, to say the least. In 2008, I can think of so many magical moments: Cliff Floyd’s walk-off against the White Sox, Carl Crawford’s grand slam against the Cubs, Dan Johnson’s first pinch-hit homer, the playoff clincher against the Twins and of course the ground ball to Aki, ‘the 0-1 to Lowrie on its way…’
“And since then, the 2010 Division winners, Dan Johnson 2.0 (in 2011′s Game 162) Evan’s walk-off, David Price’s CG against Texas in (2013′s) Game 163, Jose Lobaton’s walk off in the (2013) ALDS against Boston. And who will ever forget Brett Phillips’ hit and Randy (Arozarena)’s romp around the bases (in the 2020 World Series). As I was writing this, I was getting goosebumps!”
• • •
Sign up for the Rays Report weekly newsletter to get fresh perspectives on the Tampa Bay Rays and the rest of the majors from sports columnist John Romano.
Never miss out on the latest with the Bucs, Rays, Lightning, Florida college sports and more. Follow our Tampa Bay Times sports team on Twitter and Facebook.