The 20 Biggest Sports Names to Pass Through Tampa Bay


Tom Brady’s signing with the Buccaneers shook the world. It also shook up the order of big-name athletes to play for a Tampa Bay professional team.

Let’s be clear, this is not a list of guys whose high school and college careers in Tampa Bay were great. If it was guys like Steve Garvey, Gary Sheffield, Al Lopez Dwight Gooden would be near the top. This is just a list of the biggest names to be involved with a Tampa Bay professional sports team.

Here we go:

Tom Brady, Buccaneers

It used to be true that Tampa Bay never had a GOAT (Greatest of All Time) in any sport. That changed with Brady’s signing. No matter what he does in Tampa Bay, Brady and his six Super Bowl rings will remain the Goat.

Wade Boggs, Rays

More famous for his time with the Red Sox, Boggs is a Hall of Famer and one of the best hitters ever. The Tampa native came to the Rays late in his career.

Steve Young, Buccaneers

Young spent two dismal years as the quarterback for the Bucs. It wasn’t his fault. He just happened to be on terrible teams. He was traded to San Francisco where he had a Hall of Fame career.

Derrick Brooks, Buccaneers

The first-ballot Hall of Famer was the face of the Bucs in the 1990s and 2000s. Brooks remains very active in the community.

Marty St. Louis, Lightning

A Hall of Famer, St. Louis was the consummate leader.

Lee Roy Selmon, Buccaneers

Tampa Bay’s first Pro Football Hall of Famer, Selmon led the Bucs to the 1979 NFC Championship Game. Selmon remained active in the community until his untimely death.

Warren Sapp, Buccaneers

The dominant defensive tackle of his era, Sapp was a first-ballot Hall of Famer.

Lou Piniella, Rays

Pinella had a strong career as an outfielder. He went on to be a successful manager, including a stint with the Rays.

Doug Williams, Buccaneers

Williams was the quarterback of the 1979 team that went to the NFC Championship Game. He later played for the Redskins and became the first African American quarterback to win a Super Bowl.

John Lynch, Buccaneers

A hard-hitting safety who was part of the team’s glory years. Also a media darling because of his gregarious personality.

Ronde Barber, Buccaneers

Helped Brooks, Sapp, and Lynch form the nucleus of one of the best defenses ever.

Steven Stamkos, Lightning

Already in his prime, Stamkos can be a Hall of Famer if he finishes his career strong.

David Price, Rays

Won a Cy Young for the Rays in 2012. Has since played for the Tigers, Blue Jays, and Red Sox. Joined the Dodgers this year.

Keyshawn Johnson, Buccaneers

His name alone gets him on the list. Although Johnson had a testy relationship with coach Jon Gruden, Johnson put up big numbers and was a media favorite because he loved to talk.

Manny Ramirez, Rays

Most of his success came with the Red Sox, but Ramirez did have a cup of coffee with the Rays.

Dwight Gooden, Rays

The often-troubled pitcher and Tampa native had most of his success with the Mets but spent some time with the Rays.

Fred McGriff, Rays

Like Gooden, most of his success came elsewhere. But the Tampa native did play for the Rays.

Phil Esposito, Lightning

I debated about including Esposito on this list because he never played in Tampa Bay. But he had a Hall of Fame playing career and founded the Lightning.

Vincent LeCavalier, Lightning

Tampa Bay’s first true hockey star, LeCavlier spent 14 seasons with the Lightning. He led the league in scoring in 2007.

Denis Savard, Lightning

Savard only did two one-season stints with the Lightning, but he’s a Hall of Famer and was named one of the best 100 NHL players in history.

Honorable Mention

Tino Martinez, Jose Canseco, Evan Longoria, Mike Alstott, Dave Andrychuk, Hardy Nickerson, Nikolai Khabibulin


Pat Yasinskas has covered the NFL since 1993. He has worked at The Tampa Tribune, The Charlotte Observer, ESPN and is currently with the XFL. He has been a Pro Football Hall of Fame voter. He is an editorial consultant and occasional columnist for Bucs Report.

Photo credit: Fox Sports