If any diehard Tampa Bay Rays fan wants to see what an autograph of any player or coach looks like in the franchise's history, Jeff McKenney is the man to see.
More than 400 players, coaches and managers have donned a Tampa Bay jersey since the team joined Major League Baseball in 1998. The Devil Rays didn't have many memorable moments, but the Rays have been one of baseball's best teams for the past six years.
No matter what the team was called, McKenney—a Tampa Bay businessman—has managed to get an autographed baseball from anyone who has put on the uniform, via SportsCollectorsDaily.com's Rich Mueller:
When I say everybody that wore a uniform for the team during a regular or postseason game, I mean everybody. 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.
That is quite the accomplishment.
The collection began back in 1998, when McKenney and two of his children had seats above the Devil Rays bullpen. They started collecting practice balls and any that players threw to them, which led to them seeking autographs.
His collection has gotten so big that the Rays have invited him to display it at the team's fan fest at Tropicana Field.
Some fans have a tough time getting their favorite player's autograph, but one family has found a way to get an autograph from every single person who has contributed to the Devil Rays on the field throughout the franchise's existence.
[H/t SI's Extra Mustard]