Naimoli was the founding owner of the American League baseball franchise in St. Petersburg, Florida, now known as the Tampa Bay Rays.
Vincent J. (Vince) Naimoli was the founding owner of the American League baseball franchise in St. Petersburg, Florida, now known as the Tampa Bay Rays.
Naimoli is one of four children. His father was a second-generation Italian immigrant who worked for the New York City Subway system and became a self-taught stationary engineer. After attending Central High School in Paterson, New Jersey, Naimoli attended the University of Notre Dame, graduating in 1959 and earning a Masters degree in Mechanical Engineering from New Jersey Institute of Technology in 1962. Naimoli still attends Irish athletic events regularly with his wife, Lenda, who retired after working for 24 years as an Eastern Airlines flight attendant. Naimoli has four daughters—Christine, an Arizona State University graduate; Tory Ann Jarvis, Stephens College and Kellogg Graduate School alumna; Alyson, a '94 Notre Dame graduate; and Lindsey, a `05 Notre Dame graduate.
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.
Naimoli is famous for his thrifty ways. Naimoli refused to purchase internet access and an email system for the Rays to keep costs down, as he felt email was a fad. Naimoli made waves with his policy of enforcement of not allowing outside food against ballpark patrons erupted into an incident in which an elderly woman with diabetes was prevented from bringing food in to the park to regulate her sugar levels. As a result, the woman had to sit in her tour bus for the duration of the game.
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 has 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 will pay for the construction of the Naimoli Family Baseball Complex on FDU's Teaneck, New Jersey campus and will include an artificial surface, new lights and a 500-seat stadium, to be constructed at the site of the school's current baseball field along Route 4 and the Hackensack River.
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.
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.By BR Bullpen