Good catch by reader Justin, who points out that on Saturday night, the Rays may have worn the wrong cap. For throwback night, the Rays wore the home jerseys from 1998 and 1999, but they wore the “away” cap of 1998.

In 1998, the home caps had a purple bill and in 1999 they switched to a “TB” cap.

Our memory is a little fuzzy on this one, so does anybody recall whether or not the 1998 Devil Rays would have worn the all-black cap at home?

Also of note, we vaguely remember the Devil Rays also wearing a “TB” cap in 1998 similar to the 1999 style, only the “TB” was a little more rainbowy like the front of the jersey. That cap can be seen on Tony Saunders in this baseball card and on several Devil Rays in this image. Was this “TB” cap just a spring training cap, or did the Devil Rays wear those during their inaugural season?

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16 Comments

  1. I'm trying to put that entire night behind me. Regardless of what hat they wore, they still looked like it was 1998.

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  2. Nate says:

    The Rays wore the correct hat depending on the point of view. The uniform was the first issue made by the Devil Rays in March 1995 when we were awarded the franchise, logos were unveiled, and merchendise was sold. Prior to the start of play in 1998 the Rays came up with the TB hat which was used both at home and on the road. The hat that was worn on saturday was only used in competition once or twice. So if their goal was to play in their "first" unis, then mission accomplished, but if they wanted to show off their on-field duds from 98 then they played with the wrong hat.

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    • Correct me if I am wrong, but didn't that first cap unveiled in 95 had a purple brim? I distinctly remember counting down the days until they were available to be purchased and the one I bought had a purple brim. Sometime later I purchased one that was all black like they wore on Saturday. I may be misremembering but that is my recollection.

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      • Nate says:

        I think you are right. I have a hat from March 1995 and it has a purple brim.

        Here's a photo from the St Pete Times of Vince on the big day. His hat has a black brim.

        http://www.sptimes.com/2005/03/06/raysgallery/page1.shtml

        Here's where I don't remember the details to their full extent. Which hat was the road hat and which hat was the away? The Cubs prior to this year went with a different colored brim on the road, and the Marlins did this in their infancy too. I'm sure there were others, but the home version of the hat seemed to always be all one color. I'd have to do some more digging, but you are right, there is a chance they wore the wrong lid.

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        • Nate says:

          Here's our answer courtesy of the St Pete Times archives. They did indeed have an away hat on for Saturday's game

          http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/sptimes/access/14098545.html?dids=14098545:14098545&FMT=FT&FMTS=ABS:FT&type=current&date=Sep+11%2C+1997&author=MARC+TOPKIN&pub=St.+Petersburg+Times&edition=&startpage=5.C&desc=Devil+Rays+spice+up+big-league+wardrobe

          "The home cap is black with a purple bill, the road cap all black and the original alternate cap purple with a black bill."

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          • Sorry to others if this seems like beating a dead horse, but I am usually a big fan of throwbacks but hate when it is not accurate...

            Nice find in the archives, and that brings up another minor detail they may have gotten wrong. If the fish caps were only worn in the first season, then they were never worn at same time as the sleave patch worn on Saturday, bc the Devil Rays wore an inaugural season patch in 1998. Obviously nitpicking, but if they are going to do it, might as well do it right.

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      • Nate says:

        I guess the actual uni wasn't unveiled until november. It's funny to read the remarks 14 years later

        http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/sptimes/access/21360788.html?dids=21360788:21360788&FMT=FT&FMTS=ABS:FT&type=current&date=Nov+3%2C+1995&author=MARC+TOPKIN&pub=St.+Petersburg+Times&edition=&startpage=1.C&desc=Devil+Rays+show+their+true+colors

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        • Michael says:

          Occi said the Rays merchandise should be a big seller nationally because of the color schemes. "It's going to be awesome," she said.

          Wow. Just wow.

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    • Gus says:

      I agree they played in the wrong hat for the MLB team. But for the minor league teams that started play in 1995 or 1996, that was the uniform. I saw Rolando Arrojo pitch at Al Lang in the first ever minor league game and I'm pretty sure it was that uni and hat combo. The TB hat was a big improvement over the ink blot on a black hat. The multi-colored design was Vince's genius plan to try and sell a D-Rays shirt in every color. I still love to see the bright yellow jeseys (never game worn, but sold) pop up. By coincidence, I've seen lots of sunburst yellow Rays t-shirts in the last couple of telecasts.

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      • Michael says:

        This reminds me of a game where they played with bright green jerseys (it must have been Spring Training) and then auctioned them off for charity online. Maybe they were them on St Patricks Day? Anyway, they were about the ugliest jerseys ever and I remember being perilously close to actually bidding $100 or more for the Dewon Brazelton jersery. Whew, really dodged a bullet there!

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  3. Tim says:

    They did have the TB because I have the hat

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  4. 9equals8.com says:

    Worst unifroms, EVER! And, they played like it was 1998 also. I don't ever want to see those uniforms again! I am not into blaming the red caps or bad uniforms, but why on earth would anyone want to relive the early years of this franchise? Whoever made that decision was not thinking clearly.

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    • It was a curious decision indeed. On the one hand I don't think a lot of fans were clammoring to see the unis again, unlike the Bucs orange which I think a lot of fans do want to see if only for one game. So then maybe the team did it to push merchandise. But I was told that no trowback gear was available at the stadium. So maybe it was to sell tickets. But they did it on the same night as a postgame concert. Those games always draw well. So I can't think of why they did it other than because they could.

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      • Justin says:

        Interesting that they did not have any throwback merchandise at the game. I would have expected a hat at least. Last year, I believe they did have the St. Pete Pelicans stuff for sale at the game, or in local stores.

        They do, however have stuff for sale online! One item only, a Longoria shirt, with the old logo.

        http://shop.mlb.com/product/index.jsp?productId=3679680&cp=1452368.1452911.2455401

        Get them while they're retro.

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  5. Nate says:

    What a strange time that was. We had spent decades courting owners of franchises with so much history (A's, White Sox, Giants) and a few others to boot. When the announcement came that day in March that we finally were awarded a team. When the name and uni came out, it was certainly a departure from what we had been picturing with the three aforementioned teams.

    Good times.

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