The Franchise Name Change Hall of Fame   

Updated: July 2, 2008, 2:27 PM ET

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Scott Kazmir

AP Photo/Al Behrman

Is it just coincidence that Scott Kazmir and the Rays began to win after the team changed its name?

The Tampa Bay Rays show no signs of cooling down after a hot first half. One could argue that the success of the Rays, who seem to set franchise records every week, is due to a young core of players, a revitalized offense, a players' manager in Joe Maddon or a dependable bullpen. I'm here to argue that it should be attributed to none of those things. Clearly, the Rays' turnaround from 10 consecutive seasons of 70 or fewer wins is because the word "Devil" was removed from the team's name. With the best record in baseball at the midway point, Tampa Bay could be headed toward induction in the Franchise Name Change Hall of Fame. Let's take a look at some of those who have already been enshrined:

2006-07 Anaheim Ducks
Heading into the 2006-07 NHL season, the team revamped its name from the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim following Disney's sale of the team in 2005. Perhaps new owners Henry and Susan Samueli knew that if they wanted to overcome their Stanley Cup finals loss to the Devils in 2003, they would need to do what any self-respecting franchise looking to win a championship would do: change its name and rework its logo and uniform. At season's end, the Ducks were Stanley Cup champions.

2005 Washington Nationals
After a 67-95 final season in Montreal, the newly named Nationals improved to 81-81. The Nats even led the NL East as late as July 24 that season.

1999 Tennessee Titans
It took two seasons and two stadiums after the move to Tennessee before the Oilers finally changed their name and uniforms. After two 8-8 seasons as the Tennessee Oilers, the franchise improved to 13-3 and rode Steve McNair and Eddie George to the Super Bowl in its first season as the Titans. A team that didn't make the playoffs from 1993 to '98 then went on to the best record in the NFL (56-24) from 1999 to 2003.

1995-96 Colorado Avalanche
Not only did the former Quebec Nordiques win 17 more games than the previous season, they also won the franchise's first Stanley Cup in a landslide. Another case of relocation gone right.

1993-94 Dallas Stars
Upon arrival in the Lone Star State, the former Minnesota North Stars dropped "North" from their name. The newly minted Stars managed six more wins than the previous season and made the playoffs after having missed the postseason in their final season in the Twin Cities. The team won its first Stanley Cup in its sixth season in Texas in 1999.

1974-75 Denver Nuggets
Following the 1973-74 ABA season, the Denver Rockets realized that Colorado had very little to do with jet-propelled spacecraft. In the franchise's first season as the Nuggets, it improved from 37-47 to 65-19, reaching the 60-win mark for the first time. The 28-win improvement represented a 57 percent increase in victories over the previous season.



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