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This Date in Rays History - In 1997, the Devil Rays signed 3B Wade Boggs

The eventual Hall of Famer spent the final years of his career in Tampa Bay

Cleveland Indians v Tampa Bay Devils Rays

It was on this date in 1997, that the Tampa Bay Devil Rays signed veteran 3B, Wade Boggs, to a two year deal with an option for a third year.

Boggs, at 40 years old, was a veteran of 16 seasons and was heading to his hometown in Tampa to finish out his playing career and hopefully reach the 3,000 hit club, thus ensuring his spot in Cooperstown.

He was the Devil Rays starting third baseman during their first game in franchise history, and he would launch the team’s first ever home run later on in the game. During his time with the Devil Rays, Boggs would slash .289/.360/.391 with 9 HR, accruing a total of 1.1 fWAR.

He would record his 3,000th hit in August of 1999, hitting a home run, becoming the first player even to reach the 3,000 club with a home run. A few weeks later, his season and ultimately his career were over as he underwent knee surgery and announced his retirement.

He would take a spot on the Rays coaching bench the following season and even had his number 12 retired by the young Devil Rays franchise in during their home opener in 2000.

Boggs would eventually be elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2005 and after some shenanigans, he worse a Boston Red Sox hat on plaque.