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Vince Naimoli
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Sports Executive
    (September 16, 1937-August 25, 2019)
    Born in Paterson, New Jersey
    Founder and first owner of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays
    Ended involvement in day-to-day team operations when he resigned as managing general partner (October, 2005)
    He unsuccessfully tried to buy the Seattle Mariners and San Francisco Giants and move them to Tampa Bay.
    He wanted to call the team the Sting Rays, but there was a Maui Sting Rays in the minor leagues and he refused to pay the $35,000 that the Hawaiian team requested to give up the name.
    Before the Rays even played a game, he alienated many local companies by refusing to do business with them unless they bought season tickets.
    The Saint Petersburg High School band cancelled a performance of the National Anthem when they were told they would have to pay admission to enter the stadium.
    He imposed a 'no outside food' policy so draconian that an elderly diabetic was barred from entering the stadium with a bag of nuts that she ate to regulate her glucose levels.
    When the Tampa Bay Times suggested he could be played in a movie by James Gandolfini, he had the paper removed from the newspaper boxes around the stadium.
    He tried to pull a 'Do you know who I am?' on the police when his wife was arrested for running a red light (2004).
    The Rays never won more than 70 games in a season when he was running the team.
    Forbes called the Rays 'the worst-managed organization in baseball.' (2002)
    He was the first member of his family to go to college.
    He attended Notre Dame on a ROTC scholarship.
    Before founding the Devil Rays, he ran Amber Glass, which became the only Fortune 500 company in Tampa.
    Despite his penny pinching in business matters, he was generous in donating to charity.
    He received community service awards from the Urban League, the Jewish National Fund, the Boys and Girls Clubs, and the Multiple Sclerosis Society.
    He landed a baseball team for the Tampa Bay area, ending three decades of frustration for local sports fans.
    He was inducted into the Italian-American Sports Hall of Fame (2004).

Credit: C. Fishel


    For 2019, as of last week, Out of 64 Votes: 50.0% Annoying
 
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