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Vince Naimoli Image from We The Italians at https://www.wetheitalians.com/default/vince-naimoli-81-dies-brought-major-league-baseball-tampa
Image from “We The Italians”

Player: Naimoli, Vince


Position: Team Owner

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Image from UPI.com


Vincent Joseph Naimoli (b. September 16, 1937 in Paterson, NJ – d. August 25, 2019 in Tampa, FL) was an American businessman, and the first owner of the Major League Baseball team the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Naimoli's father was an Italian immigrant who worked for the New York City Subway system and became a self-taught stationary engineer.

Naimoli was born in Paterson, New Jersey and attended the University of Notre Dame, graduating in 1959 and earning a master's degree in mechanical engineering from New Jersey Institute of Technology in 1962. Naimoli received a Master of Business Administration degree from Fairleigh Dickinson University in 1964, and attended Harvard Business School's six-week advanced management program in 1974.

Naimoli was the founder and first owner of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, a name which was later shortened to the Tampa Bay Rays in 2008. Naimoli negotiated a naming-rights deal with Tropicana Products for Tropicana Field, with the team paying for improvements to the stadium and other auxiliary facilities. Naimoli oversaw a design for the stadium with asymmetrical outfield dimensions and dirt base paths, and seats located close to the field of play. FieldTurf was added before the start of the 2000 season.

Before succeeding in founding the Rays, he had led an attempt to buy and relocate the San Francisco Giants to what is now known as Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg. But National League owners rejected the move.

Vince was renowned for his thrifty ways. However, he was also known for his philanthropy. As a long-time resident of Tampa, Naimoli received the very first "Bridging the Bay" award in 1996, recognizing him as the individual who has done the most to unite the citizens of Hillsborough and Pinellas counties. He also received similar community service awards from the Urban League, the Jewish National Fund, the Tampa Sports Club, Boys and Girls Clubs and the Multiple Sclerosis Society.

He received an honorary monogram from the Notre Dame Monogram Club in 1999. Vince, who had received an MBA in 1964 from Fairleigh Dickinson University, contributed $1 million in 2007 to be used towards the construction of a baseball complex at his alma mater. The gift paid for the 2011 construction of the Naimoli Family Baseball Complex on FDU's Teaneck, New Jersey campus.

In 2006, he made a contribution of $5 million to his undergraduate alma mater, the University of Notre Dame, to be used towards a $24.7 million renovation project of the Edmund P. Joyce Center, an 11,418-seat multi-purpose arena that is used by the school's basketball and volleyball teams. In 2009, he also donated towards the construction of the Naimoli Family Athletic and Recreational Facility at New Jersey Institute of Technology.

It has been said that he made many more millions of dollars' worth of "anonymous donations" to various charities. The Rays honored Vince with a commemorative patch on their jerseys for the 2019 season.

(excerpted from Italian American Hall of Fame, We The Italians, BR Bullpen & Wikipedia)


Image from The New York Times
Image from MLB.com


Vince Naimoli is part of the Italian American Sports Hall of Fame Tour – Go to the Next Stop

Vince is part of the Born in New Jersey Tour – go to the Next Stop

Vince has NO baseball cards at TCDB

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