A Tampa Bay businessman and his family have amassed a collection of autographed balls from each of the over 400 players, coaches, and managers to ever wear a (Devil) Rays uniform.
The collection began when Jeff McKenny and his family got seasons tickets in the front row of right field for the then-Devil Rays inaugural campaign in 1998, and players began tossing them batting gloves and balls. Since then, the McKenny family tell SportsCollectorsDaily.com they have let no member of the roster slip through their grasp, no matter how brief their stay at the Trop:
“We’ve had guys show up for a day or two that have signed a ball. Select Rays minor league coaches traditionally join the team in September for a few games. We get them. The minute we hear or read that someone new is joining the team we attempt to track them down.”
McKenny said the baseballs--which are believed to be the only complete autograph collection of any major league team--stay in storage for most of the year, save for an annual pilgrimage to Rays Fan Fest. [Sports Collectors Daily]