During the early years of the franchise, the all-star game served as a national platform for team showcase their best talent. For fans of the team to have the chance to watch their favorite player perform on one of baseball's biggest stages.
Over the years, the Rays have had 32 players (including Chris Archer and Brad Boxberger) chosen to represent the team during the mid-summer classic. Among those players have been some of the leagues best players, while some were just chosen because they wore a Tampa Bay uniform and that's basically all of their qualifications.
The very first all-star in team history was young Cuban phenom, Rolando Arrojo who was spending his rookie season with Tampa Bay back in 1998 in an all-star game that was being hosted by the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field. Heading into the game he was 10-5 with a 3.06 ERA and a 3.57 FIP. He'd become the first Devil Ray player to appear in the allstar game when AL Manager, Mike Hargrove called upon him to pitch the bottom of the 6th inning with an 8-6 lead.
Arrojo's first opponent was current Rockies manager, Walt Weiss. Arrojo would coax a flyball to center from the short stop. He'd finish the inning by sandwiching two singles between two outs, including a strikeout of Hall of Fame bound Craig Biggio.
Arrojo's full outing starts at 2:28:30
In 1999, Jose Canseco gave Tampa Bay perhaps their most worthy first half to represent the team as he slashed .276/.360/.622 with 31 HR in just 82 games. Unfortunately, he'd have to sit out of the game due to an injury, that also hampered him the rest of the season, which would have probably been still the best offensive season in team history.
However, Canseco had another teammate join him in being an all star as the team's closer, Roberto Hernandez was selected to participate. Hernandez was brought into the game in the top of the eighth with the AL leading 4-1. He retired all three hitters he faced on three weakly hit ground balls, while also only using seven pitches.
You can see Hernandez's full outing, starting at 2:40:00
In what turned out to be his worst full season with Tampa Bay, Fred McGriff was selected as the Rays sole representative for the 2000 all star game, hosted by the Braves at Turner Field. McGriff entered the game in the seventh as a defensive replacement for Carlos Delgado. He took his first at bat, leading off the eight and popped out in foul territory. He'd bat again in the ninth and was struck out by Trevor Hoffman to end the inning.
McGriff's fist AB is at 2:15:00
In 2001, no one on the team was deserving to go, but MLB states that at least one player must go so basically whoever selected the Rays representative just looked at the roster and seen a name he recognized. Joe Torre obviously felt he wasn't deserving though, as Vaughn wouldn't appear in the game.
The 2002 all-star game will forever remain as one of the many stains on Bud Selig's legacy and one player from the Rays was able to take part it in it. The 2002 Devil Rays were one of the worst teams in major league history, but they featured a player that was actually deserving to be selected. Randy Winn, as he was slashing .310/.358/.484 heading into the break. He'd enter the game in the bottom of the forth as a defensive replacement for Ichiro and he'd record the Rays first ever hit in the mid-summer classic when he doubled down the left field line off of Eric Gagne in the top of the fifth. He'd have two more plate appearances and respectively walked and struck out, before being removed from the game.
Winn's fist AB starts at 1:18:00
In 2003, the Devil Rays were seeming to turn a page as they had several talented young players (Aubrey Huff, Carl Crawford, & Rocco Baldelli) posting solid numbers, yet only Lance Carter was the team's sole representative. He would not have the opportunity to pitch though as Mike Scioscia never called him in from the pen.
In 2004, the first player in team history that was drafted by the Devil Rays was selected to be in the all-star game as Carl Crawford was chosen to be in the game. Widely considered to be the fastest player in the game, as he had already stolen 38 bases heading into the break. He entered the game, pinch-hitting for Jason Giambi in the top of the fourth and was struck out by Carlos Zambrano. He'd bat once more and grounded out ending his night.
Crawford's first AB is at 1:27:46
In 2005, Jorge Cantu was easily having the season on the team, yet for some reason Danys Baez was chosen to represent the team and he would not appear in the game.
2006 had Scott Kazmir making his first all-star game, establishing himself as one of the best southpaws in the game. Kazmir would brought into the game to pitch the bottom of the 6th with the AL up, 2-1. Kazmir retired all three batters he faced using only nine pitches, the bulk of which (6) to Carlos Beltran.
In 2007, Carl Crawford delivered (at the time) the best all-star game moment in franchise history. Crawford was again the team's sole representative that year. He entered the game in the bottom of the 5th as a defensive replacement for Magglio Ordonez. His first at bat came in the top of the 6th against Francisco Cordero. Crawford battled for eight pitches before Cordero finally made a mistake and hung a breaking ball. Crawford was all over it and launched it into the seats in right for a solo HR, giving the AL a 3-1 lead.
You can see Crawford's HR (whole at-bat) at 1:34:45 in the video below
The full first half totals for each Devil Rays allstar from 1998-2007.
|Devil Rays Allstars Stat Lines Heading Into the Games|
|1998||Rolando Arrojo||10-5 / 3.06 ERA / 3.57 FIP / 19.60 K% / 5.50 BB% / 120.2 IP / 18 Games|
|1999||Roberto Hernandez||1-3 / 26-29 SVO / 3.72 ERA / 3.20 FIP / 21.20 K% / 11.50 BB% / 46 IP / 44 Games|
|Jose Canseco||.276/.390/.622 / 31 HR / 69 RBI / 26.64 K% / 11.26 BB% / 82 Games|
|2000||Fred McGriff||.282/.366/.491/ 18 HR / 62 RBI / 17.35 K% / 12.12 BB% / 84 Games|
|2001||Greg Vaughn||.244/.330/.497/ 21 HR / 60 RBI / 23.82 K% / 11.23 BB% / 86 Games|
|2002||Randy Winn||.310/.358/.484/ 7 HR / 42 RBI / 16 SB / 12.91 K% / 6.04 BB% / 81 Games|
|2003||Lance Carter||5-3 / 15-21 SVO / 4.05 ERA / 4.51 FIP / 15.20 K% / 7.10 BB% / 46.2 IP / 35 Games|
|2004||Carl Crawford||.304/.337/.434/ 4 HR / 34 RBI / 38 SB / 10.85 K% / 4.90 BB% / 85 Games|
|2005||Danys Baez||5-2 / 13-19 SVO / 2.68 ERA / 3.99 FIP / 17.40 K% / 12.40 BB% / 37 IP / 31 Games|
|2006||Scott Kazmir||10-6 / 3.27 ERA / 3.53 FIP / 25.20 K% / 8.90 BB% / 115.2 IP / 19 Games|
|2007||Carl Crawford||.285/.336/.445/ 6 HR / 41 RBI / 19 SB / 19.25 K% / 6.41 BB% / 85 Games|
The Rays history (2008-2014), will be up later today