Long before Joe Maddon became the fourth manager in the short history of the Tampa Bay Rays, Lil’ Joe was a bright-eyed two-sport athlete at Lafayette College.

Click on any image to see a larger version…

Maddon attended Lafayette from 1972-1976, where he was originally recruited as a football player. Manager Norm Gigon eventually converted Maddon to catcher.

He would eventually sign with the Angels. He spent two years in the Angels minor league system, where he hit .257-2-23 in 62 career games before giving up the dream to be a major league player in hopes of one day becoming a major league manager.

But let’s face it…we don’t care about his stats. We just love the photos. Nice hair Papa Joe! And love the stirrups. Why can’t we get some of those on the kids these days? And does anybody else see a little Pete Rose in the photo above where Maddon is being congratulated by #19? The smile. The hair. The pudginess. And I am willing to bet that Maddon always ran to first when he received a walk.

In the team photo (below, right), we are not convinced that #22 is Joe Maddon. This is the team photo that was provided by Lefayette College and their archive department. #22 is the number worn by Maddon in the other photos. Notice that the numbers on the front of the uniforms in the team photo are on the right side of the chest, which is the opposite of the other photos. Clearly this is a team photo from a different season. We are not sure if any of the players in the team photo are Maddon.

Special thanks to the Lafayette College Athletic Department for providing the photos.



  1. Big Mike says:

    defnitely a little Charlie Hustle. I sure hope that is all Joe has in common with Pete's managerial career. of course i can't see Joe shoving an umpire.

  2. Sean says:

    He looks like the killer from the movie Frequency in his old photo. Say it ain't so, Joe!

  3. Anonymous says:

    two words: Awe. Some.

  4. Anonymous says:

    anybody wanna bet that at least one of these ends up in Joe's office tonight or tomorrow?

  5. Elijah's 6th Love Child says:

    admit it. hidden behind the mask of brisk criticism, you kinda have a man-crush on Papa Joe? It's OK. it will be our little secret.

  6. Anonymous says:

    what position did he play in football? by the looks of it, i have him pegged as a fullback. but then again, back in the early 70s he might have been a left tackle.

  7. The Professor says:

    Love Child: Guilty

    Anon: I don't know what position, but i am guessing nose guard. he does kind look like a 70s version of Warren Sapp.

  8. RichPal says:

    He was a quaterback

  9. RichPal says:

    Oh yea and none of those guys in the team photo are him

  10. The Professor says:


  11. Indiana Rays Boy says:

    Was he facing only left handing pitching back when he played?


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