As of now, having only four teams remain in the MLB postseason makes it tricky to find a cap relating to the San Francisco Giants-themed Orange October series I've been running. Because of this, I ask you to bear with me as I attempt to tie-in the Tampa Bay Rays' historic 2020 season to the 1994-95 Giants cap I've selected for this week's Fresh Fitted Friday post.
This doesn't mean I had no other options, though! I briefly considered busting out the cap the Giants wore during the ill-fated 2002 World Series because Dusty Baker was at the helm then and is in his first year managing the embattled Houston Astros, who are just one game away from getting eliminated from the ALCS. Do you believe in Dustiny?!?
That hat must wait for another time though because an argument can be made that Tampa Bay has an even stronger connection to the Giants organization and it's one that a lot of folks might not know about.
In the Minneapolis Millers post a few weeks ago, I mentioned how the New York Giants were this close to moving to Minnesota before they set their sights on San Francisco. They had their shares of ups and downs in the City by the Bay over the years but the lowest point came on Sept 27, 1992.
That's the date news broke that then-Giants owner Bob Lurie agreed to terms to sell the franchise to Vince Naimoli's ownership group which wanted to relocate the team to Tampa the following season. I remember there being a lot of discussion at the time regarding the potential move but the details were a little fuzzy so I did some research to refresh my memory.
If you want to read up on this story like I did, I recommend checking out this Mercury News article from 2012 but really what you need to know right now is that the National League owners blocked the Naimoli deal and by November 21 of that year, the Giants were sold to a San Francisco-based group of investors led by Safeway executive Peter Magowan.
On top of the vow to keep the team in the Bay Area, that same group signed Barry Bonds to a huge (at the time) free-agent contract a few weeks later. Acquiring Bonds had an enormous impact on the future of the ballclub and by the way, Naimoli's wish came true in 1995 when Tampa was approved for an expansion team and the Tampa Bay Devil Rays began play in 1998.
For the first ten seasons of its existence, Tampa's on-field product was horrendous however their fortunes instantly changed as soon as they renamed themselves from the "Devil Rays" to "Rays" in 2008. They made it all the way to the World Series that year and despite losing that match-up to the Phillies, it marked the beginning of a fairly decent era for the club.
Even though the Rays have had recent success, fans still don't seem all that interested in attending games in Tampa and the team is often mentioned whenever the topic shifts to MLB clubs who are ripe for relocation. I suppose it makes sense that Tampa is thriving during a season where fans are absent from all of the ballparks.
|The logo the Giants currently wear first came about in the 1994 season which is the approximate year I believe this exact cap was worn because the embroidery was flat like this until 1996.|
|Flat MLB batterman and a flat embroidered SF logo on the front. Nothing better.|
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