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It was at the suggestion of the Jack Lake, the publisher of a major newspaper in St. Petersburg that the state decided to pursue to get a team of baseball players. Major political leaders even built a large playing field known as the Florida Suncoast Dome in 1990 to see if any teams would be attracted.
Finally the Tampa Bay Devil Rays came in to existence in 1998 with players like Wade Boggs and Wilson Alvarez. Tony Saunders from the Florida Marlins was the first player to be drafted in to the team. The management also got Bobby Abreu but traded him to the Philadelphia Phillies in return for Kevin Stocker. This new team was evidently gathered to make sure that the Tampa Bay area had good recognition in the baseball arena. Items like 1998 Tampa Bay Devil Rays Autographed Cooperstown Inaugural Season Bat to showcase those times are still very much in demand.
The team’s first game was played in the Tropicana Fields against the Detroit Tigers. In the 1999 season, Wade Boggs played a significant game. He tallied his 3000th hit on a home run, the first in their franchise’s history or anyone else’s for the first time. Boggs was inducted in to the Baseball hall of fame in 2005 for his contribution to the world of baseball.
By the time it was the 2003 season the management had made many changes and brought in new players including Lou Piniella who had created waves when he was in the New York Yankees and the Cincinnati Reds.
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