By Trey Lyle
So for the first time on the American League side of the Best Seasons series, we have a team that has not won a World Series in the Tampa Bay Rays.
This is a relatively young franchise founded in 1998, making them a year younger than both Matt and myself.
The team didn't have much early success, finishing last in the AL East in nine of its first ten seasons.
Their best season in franchise history came when the team entered its 11th year, and the 2008 Tampa Bay Rays were by far the best season in team history.
This was the first time the team had a winning record, finishing the season with a 97-65 record and winning the AL East. In the postseason, the team went on to beat the White Sox in four games in the ALDS and the Red Sox in seven games in the ALCS. This is to date the team's only pennant.
The Rays ultimately fell to the Philadelphia Phillies in the World Series in five games.
A trademark of this team was its ability to win close games, which included 11 walk-off wins. The Rays were also led by their pitching staff with a 3.82 ERA, second in the AL, and were fourth in the AL with 1,143 strikeouts during the season.
The team was fast around the diamond, leading the AL with 142 stolen bases.
A team that set a new standard for what Rays baseball could be as well as putting Joe Maddon on the map, the 2008 Tampa Bay Rays are their best season in franchise history.