Vince Naimoli

Vince Naimoli
Vincent Naimoli 060622-A-7969G-008 0T62T crop.jpg
Naimoli in June 2006
Vincent Joseph Naimoli [1]

(1937-09-16)September 16, 1937
Died August 25, 2019(2019-08-25) (aged 81)
Alma mater
Occupation Owner of Tampa Bay Devil Rays (MLB), businessman, investor, entrepreneur
Years active 1995–2005

Vincent Joseph Naimoli (September 16, 1937 – August 25, 2019) was an American businessman, and the first owner of the Major League Baseball team the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.[2]


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[3] and attended Paterson Central High School.[4] He 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.[5] 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.[6]

Until the end of his life, Naimoli attended Fighting Irish athletic events regularly. Naimoli has three daughters from his first marriage, and one daughter from his second marriage.

Naimoli was a member of the Fairleigh Dickinson University Board of Trustees. The Naimoli Family Baseball Complex on the Metropolitan Campus of Fairleigh Dickinson University was dedicated on October 5, 2011.

Tampa Bay Devil Rays

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.[7][8]

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.[7]


Naimoli was renowned for his thrifty ways. He refused to purchase internet access and an email system for the Rays to keep costs down, as he felt email was a fad.[9] He also made waves with his enforcement of a policy of not allowing outside food to be brought into the ballpark by team patrons which erupted into an incident in which an elderly woman with diabetes was prevented from bringing food into the park to regulate her sugar levels.[9] As a result, the woman had to sit in her tour bus for the duration of the game.

Naimoil had been attempting to sell his 10-acre mansion[10] in the elite Avila community for at least three years to move into a smaller property.


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.

Naimoli, who 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.[11][12]

In 2006, Naimoli 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. A 16,500-square-foot (1,530 m2) club / hospitality area which will include concession stands and restrooms, designed to accommodate 750 spectators, will be named for the Naimoli family.[13]

In 2009, Naimoli donated a generous gift towards the construction of the Naimoli Family Athletic and Recreational Facility at New Jersey Institute of Technology. The facility will be approximately 25,600 square feet (2,380 m2), housing courts for tennis, and will be made available for other athletic and recreational activities. The facility will be heated, air conditioned and utilize a flooring appropriate for the intended athletics and recreational activities. It is intended to meet the growing demand by our students, faculty and staff for such facilities, particularly, as our student population continues to increase.[14]

Naimoli also claimed to have made many more millions of dollars' worth of "anonymous donations" to various charities.


Naimoli was diagnosed with progressive supranuclear palsy in 2014 and died on August 25, 2019, at the age of 81.[15]


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ Chass, Murray. "BASEBALL: NOTEBOOK; Labor Board's Batting Average Could Favor the Players", The New York Times, March 12, 1995. Retrieved December 23, 2007
  3. ^ "Vince Naimoli" September 10, 2011
  4. ^ "First Tampa Bay Devil Rays owner Vince Naimoli dies at 81", WFTS-TV, August 26, 2019. Retrieved August 28, 2019. "One of four children of a second-generation Italian immigrant who worked for the New York subway system and became a self-taught stationary engineer, Naimoli graduated from Notre Dame in 1959 out of Paterson Central High School."
  5. ^ "2009 Commencement Honoree: Vincent J. Naimoli". New Jersey Institute of Technology. May 16, 2009.
  6. ^ "Naimoli Family Baseball Complex Dedication". Inside FDU. Fairleigh Dickinson University. September 2011.
  7. ^ a b Vincent J. Naimoli, Managing General Partner and Chief Executive Officer, Tampa Bay Rays. Retrieved October 22, 2008.
  8. ^ Topkin, Marc (October 7, 2005). "Naimoli's reign". Tampa Bay Times.
  9. ^ a b Keri, Jonah (March 9, 2011). "The Devil in Tampa". Deadspin.
  10. ^ "Tampa Bay Rays founder Vince Naimol's mansion up for auction". Tampa Sun-Times. November 13, 2014.
  11. ^ Staff. "FDU baseball complex gets bequest", The Record (New Jersey), December 18, 2007. Retrieved October 22, 2008.
  12. ^ Rowe, John (October 4, 2011). "Naimoli Funds FDU's New Baseball Complex". Archived from the original on May 26, 2012. Retrieved May 26, 2012.
  13. ^ "Naimoli Donates Five Million To Joyce Center Renovation", University of Notre Dame press release dated October 20, 2006. Retrieved October 22, 2008.
  14. ^ "The Naimoli Family Athletic and Recreational Facility", New Jersey Institute of Technology press release dated June 16, 2010. Retrieved September 21, 2010.
  15. ^ Original Rays franchise owner Vince Naimoli dies at age 81

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