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Home Sport Crawford starred in closing season with Rays

Crawford starred in closing season with Rays

2: 42 AM UTC

ST. PETERSBURG — Earlier than the season even started, it used to be widely understood that 2010 may presumably perchance be Carl Crawford’s final yr with the Rays. They exercised his $10 million club likelihood in November 2009, leaving the club’s star left fielder a yr far from free agency. Tampa Bay used to be a ideal fit, but Crawford used to be traipse for a better payday and a better market.

As it grew to change into out, Crawford’s closing season with the Rays used to be additionally his perfect.

Even though his profession trajectory took a dramatic turn after he signed a seven-yr, $142 million contract with the rival Crimson Sox the following iciness, Crawford — making his first look on the Hall of Reputation pollthis yr — made it exhausting for the Rays and their followers to issue goodbye. He keep all his expertise on show as the Rays won their 2nd American League East championship.

Figuring out what Crawford’s farewell campaign supposed at the time requires some info of his history with the franchise. Appreciating what Crawford did, though, requires only a understand aid at his numbers and accomplishments.

He batted .307, the 2nd-perfect life like of his profession. He launched 19 home runs, scored 110 runs and drove in 90 — all deepest bests — to associate with 30 doubles and an AL-leading 13 triples. He stole 47 bases, one of seven seasons and not using a decrease than 46 steals. His .851 OPS used to be a profession-excessive mark, and his 7.0 Wins Above Replace entire, per Baseball Reference, used to be two burly wins better than his 2nd-perfect output in 2009.

In July, the 28-yr-fashioned Crawford used to be named the AL’s starting left fielder in the All-Giant title Game — his fourth Midsummer Traditional nod with the Rays. In the unhurried innings of AL Division Series Game 2, followers at Tropicana Discipline chanted his title. After the Rays’ season ended, he earned his only Gold Glove and Silver Slugger awards while ending seventh, one set in the aid of teammate Evan Longoria, in the Baseball Writers’ Association of The United States’s AL MVP balloting.

“He’s merely one of primarily the most proficient athletes in baseball — or in any sport,” used Rays teammate James Shields told The Tampa Tribune in 2010. “He makes the exhausting performs understand straightforward. He makes the very now not really performs understand that you would possibly take into consideration.”

By the tip of Crawford’s tenure in Tampa Bay, Longoria used to be organising himself as the nationally identified face of the Rays and the best player the club had ever had. Nonetheless Crawford endeared himself to the Rays and their followers for a range of causes. For one ingredient, he used to be their first homegrown star.

Crawford’s title is tranquil all around the set aside the Rays’ legend books. He stays their all-time leader in hits (1,480), triples (105), stolen bases (409), batting life like (.296) and sacrifice hits (31) while ranking 2nd in the aid of Longoria in bWAR (35.6), video games conducted (1,235), runs scored (765), RBIs (592), extra-wrong hits (424) and entire bases (2,217).

Crawford came up by the organization after being chosen by Tampa Bay out of excessive college in the 2nd spherical of the 1999 Draft. He selected baseball rather than pursuing opportunities to play quarterback at Nebraska or level guard at UCLA. Crawford made his debut for the Devil Rays in 2002, belted a stroll-off homer at Tropicana Discipline on Opening Day in ’03 and earned his first All-Giant title selection the following yr.

He used to be there by the final of the lean years, wearing the Devil Rays’ green uniforms as the best player on some outdated groups. He used to be there when owner Stu Sternberg, top baseball govt Andrew Friedman and supervisor Joe Maddon came aboard. He used to be tranquil there when the crew dropped its “Devil” and pulled off a worst-to-first turnaround in 2008 that ended with the Rays’ first bound to the World Series.

“It looked far-off. I didn’t ever mediate I’d decide up to this level, but proper saved at it,” Crawford told reporters in July 2010. “Here we’re in actual fact. I’m joyful I went by these early days to decide up to now. You originate now not decide it as a right. You may presumably perchance also very correctly be feeling extra proud.”

Whereas Crawford had a knack for jaw-shedding, breath-taking performs — diving and leaping for balls in left topic, zipping out of the batter’s box after lashing line drives into the gaps, dashing and sliding throughout the bases — his underappreciated charge came in his consistency. Coaches and teammates raved about his work ethic. He conducted by all the pieces, looked in better than 150 video games in six of his eight burly seasons with the Rays and took the topic for fewer than 143 video games only once.

Crawford created a range of memorable moments at some level of his time with Tampa Bay, including his Opening Day stroll-off in ’03, his six-grasp sport in opposition to the Crimson Sox on May possibly possibly 3, 2009, and the home roam-robbing exhaust that helped him manufacture MVP honors in the 2009 All-Giant title Game. He used to be even better in his closing season with the Rays in 2010.

Crawford’s final hurrah started with a stroll-off two-roam double in opposition to the Orioles on Opening Day and persisted as he hit .337 by the tip of April. He carried out noteworthy, too, batting .360 (with a .989 OPS) over the regular season’s closing month. He had eight four-hit video games. He drove in five runs at some level of a purchase in Toronto on June 2 and homered twice at some level of a victory over Cleveland on July 8.

And Crawford all all over again led a legitimate shrimp-market contender to the tip of a worldly division and aid into the postseason, which made it straightforward to neglect about the life-changing, profession-altering offseason drawing nearer every day.

With the Rays, Crawford went out at the tip of his sport.

“Maybe it’s the final dance and all, but the truth that we’ve been a hit in actuality, in actuality helps,” Crawford told the Tribune unhurried in the 2010 season. “While you lose the overall time, and I’ve been there, you launch all in favour of your self. I didn’t enjoy taking part in enjoy that, being selfish. This a hit has made it very straightforward now not to mediate of myself until after the season.”

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