BOSTON -- Manager Joe Maddon claimed his 500th win with the Rays thanks to their 1-0 victory over the Red Sox on Monday afternoon.
"Honestly, until [it was called to my attention], I had no idea this was going on," Maddon said. "It really speaks to the quality of the players in the organization, whereas the first couple of years spoke to the lack of quality. All of a sudden it got better in year three. I just happened to be standing in the corner of the dugout.
"It's just the ability, the skill level, the way this group cares. All that stuff has really increased on an annual basis, so the 500 wins, I'm just happy to be the steward of this group and I've reaped the benefits of their play."
Maddon's first win as manager of the Rays came on April 3, 2006, via a 2-0 victory over the Orioles. After two losing seasons, Tampa Bay went to the World Series in Maddon's third season at the helm.
"Better baseball players make you a lot smarter," Maddon teased.
Faith in Maddon by the ownership also played into Monday's achievement.
"At the end of the second year, that was the moment where the ownership could have thought something differently," Maddon said. "But they chose to stay with me, and that's part of why I wanted to sign that extension when we got that opportunity [during this past offseason].
"I've said it before. This is the best place in the Major Leagues to be as a manager, and I really believe we've become a destination spot for the players. I know we don't pay the most money, but as a place to participate and as a place to grow and feel free as a Major Leaguer to take your game to the field, I think it's a great place to play."
Evan Longoria called Maddon's 500th win "pretty cool" before adding: "But I'm sure he would say the same thing. They're all the same until you win championships. So we're all working for the same thing. I'm definitely happy for him and proud of him."