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Memorable All-Stars in (Devil) Rays History: Carl Crawford (2009)

Carl Crawford made four trips to the mid-summer classic in his tenure with the Tampa Bay Rays but none was more memorable than his 2009 appearance in St. Louis. Crawford made the trip with teammates Evan Longoria, Carlos Pena, Ben Zobrist, Jason Bartlett, as well as skipper Joe Maddon and the Rays coaching staff.

Crawford had an incredible first half of the 2009 season hitting .309/.367/.439 with 27 extra base hits, 58 runs scored, 39 runs driven in and was 44 for 51 on the basepaths. Despite those impressive credentials, Crawford made the team as a reserve as Jason Bay, Josh Hamilton, and Ichiro Suzuki won the fan vote that season. Crawford entered the game as a pinch-hitter for Zack Greinke in the 5th inning and singled to collect his only hit of the game that started a game-tying rally for the American League, but it was his glove that stole the story in this game.

The contest was tied 3-3 in the bottom of the 7th inning with Jonathan Papelbon on the mound facing Brad Hawpe. Hawpe hammered a fastball to deep left-centerfield, but Crawford made the iconic catch that graced the cover of the DRaysBay season guide the following season as well as his thank you ad in the TBT.

That catch saved the day for the American League who went onto win 4-3 after an Adam Jones single drove in Curtis Granderson who had tripled earlier in the game. For his game-saving catch, Crawford was awarded the Most Valuable Player Award and his catch was a big part of the American League continuing a streak of 13 straight seasons without losing a game to the National League. 

Crawford continued his success into the second half hitting .300/.360/.470 in the final 68 games of the season, but the Rays were never able to make up the ground in the American League East and CC Sabathia breaking Carlos Pena's hand with a fastball in early September essentially sealed the team's fate for good that season. Crawford's efforts in the 2009 All-Star game may have been a surprise for the nation, but not Rays fans who saw him make spectacular catches on a nightly basis while patrolling left field inside Tropicana Field.