Former Rays partner Naimoli set to throw first pitch on Opening Day
Vince Naimoli, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays' managing general partner from 1995 through 2005, has been selected to throw the ceremonial first pitch on Opening Day at Tropicana Field.
Naimoli, 77, is credited for securing a Major League Baseball franchise for Tampa Bay. He began the effort in 1991, and his work reached its intended result when MLB owners voted unanimously to award Tampa Bay a franchise on May 9, 1995. The Devil Rays' first season was in 1998. They changed their name to the Rays before the 2008 campaign.
Naimoli, who lives in Tampa, will be part of Opening Day festivities before the Rays play the Baltimore Orioles. His presence will help mark the 20th anniversary of Tampa Bay being awarded a major-league franchise. On Thursday, the Rays announced that right-hander Chris Archer will be their Opening Day starter.
Below is a list of first pitches thrown at Rays home openers:
1998 Hall of Famers Ted Williams, Stan Musial, Monte Irvin, Al Lopez
1999 Larry Doby
2000 Wade Boggs
2001 St. Petersburg Mayor David J. Fischer
2002 United States Army General Tommy Franks
2003 Jon Gruden and Rich McKay, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
2004 Winky Wright, World Junior Middleweight Champion
2005 Racing legend Michael Andretti
2006 Al Lopez Jr., Al Lopez III and Al Lopez IV
2007 Governor Charlie Crist
2008 Governor Charlie Crist and Buccaneers great Mike Alstott
2009 Governor Charlie Crista
2010 Admiral Eric Thor Olson, Commander, US Special Ops
2011 Governor Rick Scott
2012 Jim Dundee, son of late boxing legend Angelo Dundee
2013 Rays Senior Adviser Don Zimmer and his son Tom
2014 Col. Scott V. DeThomas, Commander, 6th Air Mobility Wing