With Vince Naimoli leading the way, a Major League Franchise was awarded to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays on March 9, 1995. The announcement was the culmination of four years of tireless effort on the part of Naimoli, who began rallying several of the Tampa Bay/St. Petersburg area’s business and civic leaders to gather support for the movement in 1991. Recognized as one of professional sport’s most innovative and community-oriented CEO’s, Naimoli has also given time and financial support to insure the strength of youth baseball in the area. The Devil Rays are currently a team on the rise in the American League East, with standouts such as Carl Crawford, Rocco Baldelli, and their always-entertaining manager Lou Pinella.
Naimoli graduated from Notre Dame in 1959 and went on to earn MBA degrees from Farleigh Dickinson and Harvard. In 1999 he received the Ellis Island Medal of Honor from the Ethnic Coalition of Organizations, joining Hillary Clinton, John Glenn, and William Rehnquist.
Vince Naimoli was inducted to the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame in 2004.