The Tampa Bay Rays Mount Rushmore
The Tampa Bay Rays have been in existence 22 years and there have been some great players come through the Tampa area.
Some played with the Rays and some did not. Luis Gonzalez who had 2,591 hits, the Hall of Famer Al Lopez who played from 1928-1947, Tina Martinez who went on to win four World Series titles with the Yankees.
Gary Sheffield who had 2,689 hits in his career. Wade Boggs the another Hall of Famer who spent most of his career with the Red Sox, and Yankees finished his career with the Rays and collected his 3,000th career hit on a Saturday night against the Cleveland Indians.
That hit was a grand slam by the way. Boggs finished his career with 3,010 hits.
Dwight Gooden who had one of the most memorable rookie seasons in MLB history going 24-2 with the 86 New York Mets calls Tampa home and finished his career with 194 wins with 2293 strikeouts and two World Series titles.
Mike Hampton from Brooksville, had a nice 17 year career winning 148 games and notching 1387 strikeouts.
The first three players were relatively easy to come up with for the Rays Mount Rushmore. It’s that fourth person that was real hard to pick because you could have had three or four players easily make the top four.
Tampa Bay Pro Sports has chosen Ben Zobrist, utility infielder and outfielder for the number four spot on the Rays Mount Rushmore.
Zobrist is the only Rays player that is not a homegrown player on the list, as he was drafted by the Houston Astros and acquired by the Rays in 2006.
Zobrist is the best utility player the Rays have had in franchise history. Zobrist played seven positions during his eight years in Tampa, and twice was able to drive in 91 runs.
Zobrist finished his Rays career hitting .257 with 72 homers and 314 runs batted in.
Zobrist was just as effective starting as he was coming off the bench. Zobrist also had a ton of clutch hits during his time in Tampa.
Shields played six plus season with the Rays and earned the nickname “big game James as he earned a reputation for showing up in big spots and getting a win when the Rays needed it most.
In 2011, Shields led the Rays team with a 2.82 ERA and also led the team with 16 wins. That year, Shields was selected to his first All-Star game and and finished third in voting for the CY Young Award.
Shields Rays career came to a close in December in 2012 with a trade to the Kansas City Royals.
Shields went 72-63 in His Rays career with a 3.96 ERA, and 1027 strikeouts.
Number two on our Rays Mount Rushmore is outfielder Carl Crawford.
Crawford drafted by the Rays in the second round of the 1999 amateur draft had a tremendous career in Tampa and still leads the Rays in numerous offensive categories including Batting average at .296, 1480 hits, 409 stolen bases, and singles with 1,056.
Crawford was named to four All-Star teams in Tampa, was MVP of 2009 All-Star game, and was a Gold Glove winner in 2010.
Number one on our Rays Mount Rushmore is fan favorite and third baseman Evan Longoria.
Longoria was drafted by the Rays in 2006 and made his debut in April of 2008 when he won the American League Rookie of the Year.
Defensively, Longoria was a three time Gold Glove award winner, and won the Silver Slugger award in 2009.
Longoria holds ten offensive record for the Rays including at bats, 780 runs, 338 doubles, 261 home runs, and 892 runs batted in.
Longoria also holds the Rays record for most walks and strikeouts in his Rays career.
Longoria held down third base for ten years for the Rays.
During his time in Tampa, Longoria was the face of the franchise before being traded to San Francisco right before Christmas in 2017.
Almost making our list and these guys deserve honorable mention, Fred McGriff, BJ Upton, Wade Boggs, Aubrey Huff, Carlos Pena, David Price, Scott Kazmir, Matt Garza, and Matt Joyce.