Putting together the Rays All-Time 25th Anniversary squad

Evan Longoria, 3, with Carl Crawford, 13, following the 2008 ALDS.
Evan Longoria, 3, with Carl Crawford, 13, following the 2008 ALDS. / Jamie Squire/GettyImages
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Designated Hitter: No. 29, Fred McGriff

Fred McGriff
2023 Inductee Into the National Baseball Hall of Fame Fred McGriff / Stephen Dunn/GettyImages

One of only two players to be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame while having spent time with the Tampa Bay Rays, The Crime Dog excelled in Tampa even as a much older contributor. After peaking with the Toronto Blue Jays and Atlanta Braves, the first baseman played parts of five seasons with the Rays across two different runs with the club. After purchasing his contract from Atlanta following the 1997 Expansion Draft, McGriff returned to his hometown club. McGriff slashed .291/..380/.484 with 99 home runs as a Devil Ray. The 99 home runs were the most by a Ray until 2009.

Alongside 3,000 hit club member Rafael Palmeiro, McGriff is one of two first basemen to debut since the second World War to have at least 490 home runs, 2,490 hits, 1,500 RBI, and at least an .880 OPS. While only one of his five All-Star nods came as a Ray, McGriff's time in St. Pete was significant as the Rays' first superstar, and he was still a very solid option for the club.

Putting Fred McGriff in the three hole of the lineup was a no-brainer, considering he's one of the best run producers in the era that saw the biggest offensive explosion in baseball history. "The guy answered the bell. You look at his career and you see how many 100-RBI seasons that he had," former Rays radio broadcaster Charlie Slowes told MLB.com recently. "Maybe he didn’t have a ton of 40-home run seasons, but he had a lot of 30-home run seasons. He was very consistent."