During this offseason, I’m going to offer a series of posts that could strike up quite the debate. I’m going to investigate each team’s history, evaluate the players, and come up with my top-5 players to ever play for that team. And, we start with the Diamondbacks.
Arizona has been around for just 16 seasons, after they were an expansion team in 1998. It didn’t take them long to put together a winning franchise, though – reaching the playoffs in ’99, and winning one of the most exciting World Series’ in ’01. But, since that win, they’ve only reached the playoffs 3 times in the last 12 seasons, and only once made it past the LDS. They have only retired one jersey number, and it happens to be one of the names on my list, so we’ll get to that in a minute. Such a short history could make this choice either very easy, or very difficult if there aren’t very many great ones to choose from. Let’s see where this takes us.
5. Paul Goldschmidt (’11-present) – Yes, I’m already putting him on this list. If it wasn’t for an AB limitation on the list I was looking at, he would already have the 2nd best career OPS in team history (.893 – having the 2nd best OBP & SLG in history). He has already won a Gold Glove at 1B, and is likely to finish first or second in the MVP race in just a couple days. Just one more year in the league, and he’ll crack their top-10 HR and RBI list – at the age of 26. Arizona has really never had a batter of this caliber in their history, and if he keeps playing this well for a few more years, we could very easily see him at the top of this list.
4. Brandon Webb (’03-’09) – What a sad story Brandon Webb is. He was just 29 when he threw his last pitch in the majors. He had finished 3rd in ROY in ’03, won the Cy Young in ’06, finished runner-up in Cy Young voting in both ’07 & ’08. He was putting together what looked like an impressive career. Then the wheels came off. One shoulder injury after another led to him pitching just one game in ’09, and never making it back. He officially retired in 2013. In spite of such a short career in Arizona, he still ranks 2nd in all-time Wins (87), 2nd in K’s (1065), 3rd in ERA (3.27), 5th in WHIP (1.24), 5th in win pct. (.584), and 6th in K/BB ratio (2.45).
3. Curt Schilling (’00-’03) – Schilling only played 3 1/2 seasons in Arizona. But, oh, what an impressive 3.5 seasons they were. Two All-Star game appearances, back-to-back runner-ups for the Cy Young, and co-MVP of the World Series. And, in spite of spending such a short time in Arizona, Schilling still ranks 1st on their All-Time win pct. list (.674), 1st in WHIP (1.04), 1st in K/BB ratio (7.48), 3rd in total Wins (58), 2nd in ERA (3.14), and 3rd in total K’s (875).
2. Luis Gonzalez (’99-’06) – Gonzalez’ #20 jersey is the only one retired in Arizona, outside of the obligatory #42. And, why wouldn’t it be? Of all the iconic moments in baseball history, Gonzalez’ Game 7-winning hit off of Rivera in the ’01 World Series has to be one of the best. In Gonzalez’ 8 seasons with the Diamondbacks, he accumulated enough statistics to lead their all-time list in nearly every single offensive category: Batting (.298), OBP (.391), SLG (.529), OPS (.919), Hits (1,337), Doubles (310), HR (224), RBI (774), Runs Created (950). He was a force to be reckoned with – and will be remembered as their best hitter in team history . . . at least until Goldschmidt catches up.
1. Randy Johnson (’99-’04, ’07-’08) – One of the greatest LHP of all time, Johnson had his best success in Arizona. From ’99-’03, he won an incredible four consecutive Cy Young awards. He led the league in Wins once, WHIP twice, ERA 3 times, and K’s an amazing 5 of those first 6 seasons with the D’backs. He holds the all-time lead in Arizona for Wins (118), ERA (2.83), Strikeouts (2,077), and Shutouts (14). He also ranks 2nd in win pct. (.656), WHIP (1.07), and 3rd in K/BB ratio (4.99). All this while helping lead them to their only World Series title in ’01, when he shared co-MVP honors with Schilling.
That’s my list . . . who makes yours?