Former Devil Rays owner Naimoli dies

By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher 

Vince Naimoli, the original owner of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, has died. He was 81. 

Naimoli died on Sunday night after being diagnosed with an uncommon brain cancer five years ago, according to the Associated Press. During his final days, he was surrounded by his family and friends, according to his wife Lenda.

Death Candle
Death Candle (Photo by

In 1995, he earned the opportunity to bring baseball to the Tampa Bay region in 1998. He previously tried to buy the Seattle Mariners and the San Francisco Giants and relocate them to Florida, according to the AP story.

“His success in landing the then Devil Rays changed the region’s sports landscape forever,” the team said in a statement read. “In addition to his distinguished business and baseball careers, his family’s philanthropic efforts in the community will be felt for generations.”

In 2004, he sold the franchise to the team’s current owner Stuart Sternberg. Naimoli lost control of the team following the 2005 season.

When Naimoli was the owner, the team was named the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. However, when Sternberg took over, he shortened the name to the Tampa Bay Rays.

In 2008, the Rays made it to the World Series before losing to the Philadelphia Phillies.

“Vince Naimoli was instrumental in bringing baseball to Tampa Bay,’” Sternberg said. “I am forever grateful that he entrusted me with the franchise in 2005. It was my pleasure to have worked with Vince and to have been his partner.”

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