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The Flip Side: Nick Green

The man who pioneered the Rays Way before the Rays Way was a thing

Nick Green was the prototypical Rays player before the Rays became the Rays. You could say, he pioneered the Rays Way.

A 32nd round draft pick in 1998 by the Atlanta Braves, Green was an organization solider who never garnered much attention as a prospect. However, still with the Braves in the upper levels on the minor leagues in 2004, Green received his opportunity and made his Major League debut that season.

His place in the big leagues was prolonged after Marcus Giles suffered a broken collar bone and allowed Green to receive a starting opportunity. He ultimately played in 95 games for Atlanta in 2004 and then, during spring training in 2005, he was dealt to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays for RHP Jorge Sosa.

The often overlooked contact-oriented utility infielder is a staple for the Rays, and it seems that Nick Green was the first one to be introduced to the organization as they entered a new phase in team history.

Green spent time all over the infield for Tampa Bay and provided them with a pretty solid campaign in 2005, as he accrued 1.2 fWAR — more than all of the other selections from the 32nd round of the 1998 draft combined.

Green’s Devil Ray tenure came to an end in May of 2006, and he was quickly picked up by the New York Yankees. Green’s odyssey around the league continued for several more years, ending his big league career with the Miami Marlins in 2013.

Following his playing career, Green has taken a role with the Atlanta Braves in their production department, helping to cover pre-game and post-game coverage.

Now that Nick Green’s career has been sufficiently covered, let’s take a look at one of his baseball cards.

2005 Topps Update #47 Nick Green

Time for some investigation.

Based on initial observation, this is a play Nick Green made from second base during an away game during the 2005 season.

The left field wall behind him looks to me a lot like Pro Player Stadium, the Maimi Marlins former home. There is a No. 45 next to an NYM (New York Mets), on the scoreboard so that should be able to allow us designate a specific date in which this game and action took place.

The Tampa Bay Devil Rays played the then Florida Marlins on May 20-May 22, 2005, and they were swept; Green started at second base in all three games.

Now, for the Mets, only one player wore the number 45 for them during the 2005 season and that was none other than future Hall of Famer, Pedro Martinez. On May 22nd, Martinez made a start against the New York Yankees. So, with that in mind, we can deduce that the picture forever immortalized on the card was snapped on May 22nd, 2005.

Now, to find the exact play.

Green started the game at second base and proceeded to collect a double during his three trips to the plate. He’d leave the game in the 6th inning as part of a double switch to bring in Seth McClung to replace Casey Fossum.

During the game, Green was involved in exactly one play defensively, During the bottom of the fourth inning, Paul Lo Duca hit a groundball of Fossum that Green fielded and threw to fire to retire Lo Duca.

That is the play captured in the photograph on the card.

Now, see you on the flip side.