On Friday the Rays chose not to offer Jonny Gomes arbitration. The move most likely ended Gomes’ career with the Rays.

Marc Topkin spoke with Gomes, who indicated that he would be open to a rejoining the Rays on a minor league deal if he is unable to find major league work someplace else. Gomes is also in the process of exploring options to improve his vision (that explains drinking beer out of an athletic cup) and feels being drafted by the Rays may have saved his life.

“If it wasn’t for the Rays, I’d probably be in Iraq right now,” Gomes said Saturday. “Back in ’01, I had two contracts in front of me, one to go play for the Rays as an 18th-round draft pick and one to go into the Marines…So I may owe the Rays my life. I’m one of the few people who leaves the Rays with a smile.”

We will certainly miss Gomes’ enthusiasm. And we will miss his aggressiveness. And we will miss his ability to always steal second base with two outs to get into scoring position. And we will miss his honesty (when asked how the team felt about Evan Longoria being demoted, he answered that the only person that liked the move was the triple-A manager). But we won’t miss his “Keystone Kops” routine in the outfield or his penchant for thinking one home run was a sign of more to come or how he swung at over 50% of pitches that were out of the strike zone (seriously).

So, with Gomes’ career with the Rays now in the rear view mirror, let’s take a look back at some of our favorite stories of Gomes. Have your own favorite Jonny Terrific story? Let’s hear it in the comments.

Jonny Gomes Webtopia…

Departed Jonny Gomes appreciates time with Tampa Bay Rays [St. Pete Times]

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7 Comments

  1. kyle says:

    I'll definitely miss Jonny's fire and charisma. As for the prospect of him signing a minor league deal with the Rays: "It doesn't suck."

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  2. Jessica says:

    I for one will never forget him tackling David Price before the Rays headed to the World Series.

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  3. PTownFan says:

    Nice job Prof. Actually my favorite Jonny Gomes story is what he did AT Camp For A Cure in 2007 (your reference to the children with cancer). More sentimental than funny, but... The Rays new uni unveiling included a Friday afternoon event in St. Pete and Camp For A Cure was Saturday morning on the other Coast. He didn't want to miss either event... So he took a red eye and got into SFO at about 5am. Camp started at 8 and it poured. It was sopping sloppy wet and freezing cold. The kids loved it and the coaches tolerated it. No one would have thought any less of Jonny for bugging out early but he stayed at the station he was coaching until the end. Then he hung out with the camp staff for hours afterward. I wonder how many major leaguers would have stuck it out with the campers in a cold rain all day instead of finding a dry spot to just sign a few autographs. Barry "I'm not retired" Bonds could take a page from that book.

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  4. The Professor says:

    nice story. doesn't surprise me at all. no matter what anybody thought about Jonny the player, he is one of the most likable players around. good people.

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  5. Mark says:

    Jonny hit his first career grand slam right over my head (check the tape, but LOL you don't know what I look like!)

    It was then that I knew I'd be a Jonny Gomes fan forever.

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  6. Elijah's 6th Love Child says:

    FAVORITE. DEVIL RAY. EVER

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  7. Scot says:

    ..."The History of the Fist Bump" - Little did I know how important it is in baseball. And I thought fist bumping was only between dope smoking, cocaine snorting, elitist Muslim terrorist anti-American socialists with parents who commit felonies in 17 states in the early 60's and eventually attend Ivy Tower institutions of education.

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