We look back at some of the great players who have worn a Tampa Bay Rays uniform and attempt to assemble the best starting lineup to win one game.
The Tampa Bay Rays have had a lot of home-grown stars that went on to make big money elsewhere, likewise, they have also brought in their fair share of veterans and legends toward the end of their careers.
Today, we begin selecting a team using any player to ever wear a Rays uniform. All they have to do is win one game. These choices are my own and they are opinions. Feel free to post your lineups in the comments below, our Facebook page, or on Twitter @Rayscologlasses. Today we make a decision on which player would start at third base.
When you think about the Tampa Bay Rays and the third base position, one name comes to mind. Evan Longoria was the face of the franchise during the best years. He has been gone for over two seasons and he still feels like the face of the franchise. However, he is not the easy choice.
Remember, if you read the first baseman article, you know that any player to ever suit up in a Rays’ uniform is eligible. It’s about the player and not just what they did while wearing a Rays’ uniform.
So while Longo is a great player, he has to contend with one of the all-time greats, Hall of Famer Wade Boggs.
Boggs led the league in batting five times, he led the league in on-base percentage six times, he led the league in OPS twice. He is a 12-time All-Star and led the league in rWAR for three consecutive years between ‘86-‘88. He has eight Silver Sluggers and two Gold Gloves. He wasn’t a Herculean home run hitter, but he had a knack for pulling one out when it counted.
Boggs finished his career with an OPS+ of 131 over 18 seasons, including the incredible stretch between 1983-1991 in which he slashed .335/.436/.473 with an OPS+ of 147.
Of the 20,000+ men to play Major League Baseball, here’s where Boggs ranks in several categories:.
- Doubles: 23rd (578)
- rWAR: 33rd (91.4)
- OBP: 25th (.415)
- Hits: 30th (3,010)
- Walks: 26th (1,412)
Between 1985 and 1988 Boggs had an incredible OPS+ of 162 with an OBP of .460 over that span. He was getting on base in nearly half of his plate appearances. There were no easy outs with Boggs as he struck out just 187 times over that four-season span. To put that in perspective, Ronald Acuna struck out 188 times last season. Longoria’s highest mark for strikeouts in a single season came in 2013 when he struck out 162 times.
Boggs is my starting third baseman, hands down.
Would you make a case for Longoria over Boggs? Let us know in the comments or on social media.