The Tampa Bay Rays have been around since the 1998 Major League Baseball season as they were originally named the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Fun Fact: in the team's first decade of existence, they finished last place in the American League East division in every season but the 2004 season. They play their home games in Tropicana Field, which is an all indoor stadium. As of 2021, the Rays have had 3 Wild Card berths to make it into the postseason in 2011, 2013, and 2019, they won the American League East division 4 different times in 2008, 2010,2020, and 2021, and have won the American League pennant twice in 2008, and 2020, but have not won a World Series championship. The history of the franchise is littered with legendary players such as Evan Longoria, Carl Crawford, David Price, Scott Kazmir, James Shields, and countless others. Because of their impact on the game can be measured in numerous ways such as revenue, endorsements, and memorabilia. Recently we've discovered that some Rays jerseys have been sold for extremely high amounts. Today we will take a look at the five most expensive Rays jerseys ever sold:
5. 2004 Scott Kazmir Rookie Game Used And Signed Jersey - $356
Scott Kazmir was one of the franchise's original farm-grown stars, along with Carl Crawford, and Audrey Huff, and was the ace in the Rays rotation for four out of his six season with the franchise. Kazmir was really the only starting pitcher the Rays really had until the 2008 season, where the Rays went from last place all the way up to first place. The 2007 season was Kazmir's best season with the Rays, and the best season of his Major League Baseball career. In 2007, he led the league in total strike outs with a total of 239 and games started with a total of 24, and he also set a career high in innings pitched with 206 and with total games won with 13. Kazmir had a winning record throughout his career record going 55-44, he had a total of 874 strike outs, an ERA of 3.92, and a 1.39 WHIP. His jersey was sold for $356 in the Summer of 2009 at the Grey Flannel Auctions.
4. 2011 James Shields Game Worn And Signed Jersey - $423
Statistics don't show how much James Shields (also known as "Big Game James") meant to the Rays during his time spent with the franchise. Shields was known for coming up in the clutch and winning the big games, hence the nickname. 2011 was Shields best season with the Rays as he represented the organization as an American League All-Star, had a great ERA of 2.82, he led the league in complete games with a total of 11 and shoutouts with a total of 4, he pitched a total of 249 innings, struck out a total of 225 batters, and had a winning record of 16-12. Shields also finished third in the American League's CY Young voting in the 2011 season. His game worn and signed jersey was sold for $423 in the Goldin Auctions.
3. 2012 David Price Game Worn Jersey - $478
David Price has been one of Major League Baseball's top left handed pitchers since he entered the big leagues in 2008. Fun Fact: David Price was selected first overall in the 2007 Major League Baseball draft by the Rays. 2012 was a phenomenal season for Price, as he represented the Rays as an American League All-Star, leading the league in total wins with a winning record of 20-5, leading the league in pitchers winning percentage with that being .800, leading the league in ERA with a total of 2.56, he also struck out a total of 205 batters, pitched a total of 211 innings, and was named the American League's CY Young Award winner. Price was also known for coming up in the clutch in big games as in the 2008 ALCS against the Boston Red Sox, Price was able to step up and close out the game that helped them win the American League Pennant. His game worn jersey was sold for $478 in November, 2015 in the Heritage Auctions as part of the Sports Collectibles Catalog Auction.
2. 2004 Carl Crawford Game Worn And Signed Jersey - $746
Arguably the greatest Ray in franchise history, Carl Crawford leads the franchise in batting average, RBI'S, runs, hits, stolen bases, WAR, and total games played. Crawford was the heart and soul of the Rays franchise from the years 2002-2010, and was immediately a fan favorite in Tampa Bay from the minute he step foot onto the field. In 2004, Crawford led the American League in stolen bases with an immaculate total of 59, he also had a great batting average of .296, he hit a total of 11 home runs, and drove in 55 runs. This specific jersey of Crawford's that was sold was a jersey he wore when he smacked a lead off home run against the Chicago White Sox on April 16th, 2004. The jersey was sold for $746 as part of the BidAMI Auctions in an Uncategorized category of the Auction.
1. 2011 Evan Longoria Game Worn Jersey - $776
A true leader of the franchise, and even a hometown hero, Evan Longoria was an immediate fan favorite in Tampa Bay since he made his Major League Debut in 2008, and won the American League's Rookie of the Year Award. Longoria is arguably the greatest Rays player in clutch moments as he has delivered in the clutch on numerous occasions, on the defensive end and the offensive end. Arguably Longoria's most clutch moment in a Rays uniform came during Game 162 of the 2011 season against the New York Yankees, as he hit an iron missile walk-off home run over the left field wall to send the Rays to the postseason. This specific jersey was that was sold was worn by Longoria during game against the Red Sox at Fenway Park on June 15th, 2011. His jersey was sold for $776 in October, 2012 as part of the Heritage Auctions in Dallas as part of the Vintage Sports Collectibles Signature Auction.
Written by Benjamin Smith
Read more posts by Benjamin Smith