The greatest picture ever

August 28, 2008 at 7:34 pm | Posted in Baseball, Rays | 4 Comments

Yes, that is Cal Ripken in a Tampa Bay Rays jersey!  He threw out the first pitch at Tropicana Field yesterday.  He was in town to announce that his company, Ripken Baseball, had purchased the Rays’ Single-A affiliate in the Florida State League, the Vero Beach Devil Rays, and they will be moving the team to Port Charlotte next year to play in the newly renovated stadium that the Rays will also use for spring training.

I absolutely love this picture.  Cal Ripken has always been one of my favorite baseball players, and he’s probably my favorite non-Yankee who played during my childhood.  I liked him because he was a former Rochester Red Wing (I grew up in Rochester), a great all-around player, and had an unbelievable worth ethic that was exemplified by his streak of playing in 2,632 consecutive games.  He was an outstanding role model.

I’m sure that Baltimore Orioles fans will find this picture to be blasphemous, but I think Cal looks great in a Rays jersey.  One inconvenience in being a Rays fan is the lack of history and tradition for their fans to reminisce about.  So when we feel nostalgic, it’s great players from other teams that we think about.  Although I’m a former Yankees fan, I still greatly admire most of their legendary players.  I also like the history of the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Of course, the closest tie to historic greatness that the Rays franchise has is Wade Boggs.  He played his final two seasons for the Devil Rays and notched his 3000th hit for the team in 1999.  Boggs is the only Hall of Famer with “TAMPA BAY, A.L.” etched on his plaque.  I also believe that Fred McGriff deserves to be inducted into the Hall of Fame when he is eligible.  And many baseball fans don’t realize it, but the Rays also have a tie to the great Ted Williams.  Williams established the Ted Williams Hitters Hall of Fame and Museum in Citrus County, Florida, and it was permanently moved to Tropicana Field in 2006.  It features the best collection of baseball memorabilia that I’ve ever seen outside of Cooperstown.  I believe that just getting free admission to the museum is worth the price of a ticket to a Rays game.

The only picture that could top the picture of Ripken in a Rays jersey in my mind would be Don Mattingly in a Rays jersey.  That would be an unbelievable dream come true…

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4 Comments »

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  1. My first thought upon seeing the picture was “Photoshop”. Its a matchup of player and jersey that just makes you do a double take.

  2. I’m not a rays fan but I like that picture too. Cal always represented what is right with baseball and the Rays are an easy team to like this year. (It’s too bad that very few of the good people of Tampa/St. Pete seem to agree). I just wish he would have put on a hat. I almost went blind when I opened this post!

  3. Man, that pic gives me chills. I’ve never been a Ripken fan or collector but I’ve always admired his on the field/off the field persona…

    This might become my new desktop background on my laptop…

  4. Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. 🙂 Cheers! Sandra. R.


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