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A brief history of the Tampa Bay Rays

The Tampa Bay Rays could bring home the Commissioner's trophy for the first time.
Credit: AP
Tampa Bay Rays pose with the American League championship trophy following their victory against the Houston Astros in Game 7 of a baseball American League Championship Series, Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020, in San Diego. The Rays defeated the Astros 4-2 to win the series 4-3 games. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

TAMPA, Fla — After holding off the Houston Astros to win the American League Championship Series, the Rays punched their ticket to the World Series Saturday night. 

This season is the team's second appearance in the World Series and could be their first time winning if they are able to defeat the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The best of seven series kicks-off in Texas on Tuesday, Oct. 20 at 8:09 p.m.

So, with the possibility of a historic moment on the horizon, let's take a look back at the Rays 25-year history.

How did the Rays get their start?

While Tampa Bay's "big league roots" date back to more than 100 years, according to Major League Baseball, it was in 1995 when the team got its start as, the previously named, Devil Rays. 

It wouldn't be until three years later when the team would play in its first game against the Detroit Tigers. Tampa Bay's first win though did not come until a day later in the second match-up against the northern team.

But it hasn't been all uphill for the Rays. Current principal owner, Stuart Sternberg took over in 2005 and kick-started a "massive rebranding." 

Not only in the team's name, logo and uniforms but also in its performance. 

It's been about re-building and finally clinching the World Series title

According to Sternberg's profile, the team's first decade "amassed the major's worst record" of 645-972 and saw a last-place finish in nine of the 10 seasons.

That's not the case anymore. 

In the years since the Rays secured the fifth-best record in baseball and made six trips to the postseason: 2008, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2019 and 2020.

But the World Series title has remained just out of the Ray's grasp. The last time they had a shot was in 2008 when they fell to the Phillies.

Now the team and the town that supports them are hungrier than ever as Tampa Bay is shaping up to be a title town following the Lightning winning the Stanley Cup and Brady signing with the Bucs. 

Will 2020 be the Rays year? We'll just have to watch and find out.

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