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Top Players in Arizona Diamondbacks History: From Randy Johnson to Justin Upton

Arizona Diamondbacks Overview

Since their inception in 1998, the Arizona Diamondbacks have been an exciting team to watch in Major League Baseball (MLB). Over the years, theyve had some incredible players who have left their mark on the franchise’s history.

In this article, well take a closer look at the Diamondbacks’ background and history, as well as some of the best players who have ever worn the team’s uniform.

Background and History

The Arizona Diamondbacks are a professional baseball team based in Phoenix, Arizona. They play in the National League (NL) West division of MLB.

The team was founded in 1998 as an expansion team, along with the Tampa Bay Rays. In their first season, they finished with a record of 65-97, which is not surprising for an expansion team.

However, in just their fourth season, the Diamondbacks made it to the World Series, where they faced off against the New York Yankees. Although they lost the series, they made history as the fastest expansion team to make it to the championship game.

The Diamondbacks won the National League West division again in 2002, but they were defeated by the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League championship series. They would have to wait until 2007 for another chance.

That year, they won the National League West again and made it to the NL Championship Series, but they were defeated by the Colorado Rockies. Finally, in 2001, the Diamondbacks captured the World Series title with a win over the New York Yankees.

This team is best remembered for their stellar pitching, led by

Randy Johnson and

Curt Schilling, who became the co-MVPs of the series.

Best Players in Diamondbacks History

Over the years, the Diamondbacks have had some amazing players who have helped to shape their history. Here are ten of the best players in Diamondbacks history:

1.

Randy Johnson

2.

Paul Goldschmidt

3.

Curt Schilling

4.

Luis Gonzalez

5.

Brandon Webb

6.

Steve Finley

7.

Justin Upton

8. AJ Pollock

9.

Dan Haren

10. Matt Williams

Randy Johnson

Randy Johnson is one of the best pitchers to ever play the game of baseball, and he is undoubtedly one of the best players in Diamondbacks history. Johnson began his career with the Montreal Expos and then played for the Seattle Mariners before joining the Diamondbacks.

Early Career Struggles

Johnson had a slow start to his MLB career with the Expos and the Houston Astros. However, when he joined the Mariners in 1989, he began to establish himself as one of the most dominant pitchers in the game.

He won the Cy Young Award in 1995, 1999, and 2000, while playing for the Mariners.

Success with the Diamondbacks

In 1999, Johnson joined the Diamondbacks and helped to lead them to their first-ever World Series appearance in 2001. That year, Johnson won the Cy Young Award for the fourth time in his career.

During the 2001 World Series, Johnson pitched in three of the seven games, earning two wins and a save, and was named the World Series MVP. In 2002, Johnson won the Cy Young Award for the fifth time, and in 2004, he won it for the sixth time, while playing for the Diamondbacks.

He is the only player to have won the award at least four times with two different teams.

Conclusion

The Arizona Diamondbacks have had some incredible players throughout their history, but

Randy Johnson is perhaps the most iconic. Johnsons dominant pitching helped lead the Diamondbacks to their first-ever World Series victory in 2001, and his six Cy Young Awards are a testament to his greatness on the mound.

Its players like Johnson that have helped make the Diamondbacks one of the most exciting teams to watch in MLB.

Paul Goldschmidt

Paul Goldschmidt is one of the most exciting players to have played for the Arizona Diamondbacks. He was a consistent double-digit home run and stolen base performer for the team and made six All-Star appearances during his time there.

Here’s a closer look at his early career, his breakout with the Diamondbacks, and his trade to the St. Louis Cardinals.

Early Career and Breakout with the Diamondbacks

Paul Goldschmidt had an impressive collegiate career at Texas State University and was then drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the eighth round of the 2009 MLB Draft. He made his professional debut a year later with the Mobile BayBears, the Diamondbacks’ Double-A affiliate.

In 2011, Goldschmidt had an outstanding year playing for the Diamondbacks’ Triple-A team, the Reno Aces. He led the Pacific Coast League (PCL) in home runs, batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage, earning him the PCL MVP award.

Goldschmidt made his MLB debut later that year and had a strong rookie campaign, hitting eight home runs and recording 26 RBIs.

Goldschmidt’s breakout season came in 2013 when he hit .302 with 36 home runs and led the National League (NL) with 125 RBIs. He was voted an All-Star for the first time in his career, finished second in MVP voting, and won his first Gold Glove award. Goldschmidt kept up his strong play over the next few seasons, and he was one of the most consistent players in the league, making the All-Star team every year from 2013 to 2018.

Trade to the St. Louis Cardinals

In December 2018,

Paul Goldschmidt was traded from the Diamondbacks to the St. Louis Cardinals in exchange for three players, including pitcher Luke Weaver. The trade was a shock to many Diamondbacks fans, as Goldschmidt had been one of the team’s best players for years, and he had a strong connection with the community.

The trade was part of a larger roster rebuild for the Diamondbacks, who were looking to add young talent to the team. For the Cardinals, Goldschmidt was seen as a key addition to their lineup.

In his first season with the team, Goldschmidt hit 34 home runs and 97 RBIs, helping the Cardinals make the playoffs. Although Goldschmidt is now playing for a different team, his impact on the Diamondbacks is still remembered by fans and analysts alike.

His consistent play and leadership were a key part of the team’s success during his time in Arizona.

Curt Schilling

Curt Schilling had an incredible career in Major League Baseball (MLB), playing for five different teams during his 20-year career. He was a dominant pitcher and won three World Series championships over the course of his career.

Here’s a closer look at his trajectory, including his time with the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Career Trajectory

Curt Schilling began his MLB career with the Baltimore Orioles in 1988, and he also played for the Houston Astros and Philadelphia Phillies before joining the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2000. He had a solid career up until that point, but his best performances were yet to come.

Schilling’s dominance on the mound continued with the Diamondbacks. In his first year with the team, he posted a 9-12 record but had an impressive 3.81 ERA and recorded 300 strikeouts.

The following season, he had an exceptional year, posting a 22-6 record with a 2.98 ERA and 293 strikeouts. He finished second in Cy Young Award voting that year, behind teammate

Randy Johnson.

Impact with the Diamondbacks and World Series MVP

Schilling’s performance in the 2001 season is the one he is most remembered for in Arizona. He and

Randy Johnson were the two best pitchers in baseball that year, and they carried the Diamondbacks to their first-ever World Series victory.

Schilling had a 4-0 record during the playoffs, including a complete-game shutout in Game Five of the World Series. He was named the World Series MVP, and his contributions were pivotal in securing the championship.

After the 2003 season, Schilling was traded to the Boston Red Sox, where he won two more World Series titles in 2004 and 2007. His dominant performances with the Diamondbacks and his impact on the team’s history will never be forgotten.

Schilling’s career ended in 2007, and he became eligible for the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2013, but he has yet to be inducted. Despite this, he remains one of the most dominant pitchers to have ever played the game of baseball.

Luis Gonzalez

Luis Gonzalez is one of the most iconic players in Arizona Diamondbacks history. He spent eight years playing for the Diamondbacks and helped lead the team to their first and only World Series victory.

Here’s a closer look at his career before Arizona and his record-breaking 2001 season.

Career Before Arizona

Luis Gonzalez began his MLB career with the Houston Astros in 1990, but he struggled to find consistent playing time. He also spent time with the Chicago Cubs, where he had moderate success, but it wasn’t until he joined the Arizona Diamondbacks in 1999 that he really found his groove.

Record-Breaking 2001 Season and World Series Win

In 2001, Gonzalez had a career-best season, hitting .325 with 57 home runs and 142 RBIs. He finished third in MVP voting and was a key player in the Diamondbacks’ run to their first World Series title. In Game Seven of the series, Gonzalez hit a game-winning single off New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera to secure the championship.

Gonzalez’s 2001 season was not only impressive, but it also set a Diamondbacks record for home runs and RBIs in a single season, records that still stand to this day. He was also named to the National League All-Star team that year, marking his third All-Star appearance overall.

Throughout his time in Arizona, Gonzalez was a fan favorite and a key part of the team’s success. He was known for his clutch hitting and his leadership on and off the field, and he was a key reason why the Diamondbacks were able to win their first championship in just their fourth season as an expansion team.

Brandon Webb

Brandon Webb was a dominant pitcher for the Arizona Diamondbacks, but his career was cut short by injuries. Here’s a closer look at his early career with the Diamondbacks and the injuries that led to his retirement.

Early Career with the Diamondbacks

Brandon Webb was selected by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the eighth round of the 2000 MLB Draft. He made his debut for the team in 2003 and had a strong rookie season, going 10-9 with a 2.84 ERA and winning the National League Rookie of the Year Award.

Webb’s best season came in 2006 when he won the National League Cy Young Award. That year, he had a 16-8 record with a 3.10 ERA and led the league in wins, complete games, and shutouts.

Career-Halting Injuries and Retirement

Unfortunately, injuries derailed Webb’s career. In August 2009, he had shoulder surgery, which forced him to miss the entire 2010 season.

He attempted a comeback in 2011, but he re-injured his shoulder during a spring training game, effectively ending his career. Webb’s injuries were a huge blow to the Diamondbacks, as he was one of the best pitchers in the league when he was healthy.

He finished his career with a 87-62 record and a 3.27 ERA, and he was known for his sinkerball, which was one of the best pitches in the game during his prime. Webb’s injuries are often referred to as a “what if” story, as many people wonder what he could have achieved if he had stayed healthy.

Despite the disappointing end to his career, Webb will always be remembered as one of the most dominant pitchers to have ever played for the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Steve Finley

Steve Finley is one of the most accomplished outfielders to have ever played for the Arizona Diamondbacks. He spent six seasons with the team and was a key player in their 2001 World Series win.

Here’s a closer look at his career before Arizona and his success with the Diamondbacks.

Career Before Arizona

Steve Finley began his MLB career with the Baltimore Orioles in 1989 but struggled in his first few seasons. He eventually found success with the Houston Astros and San Diego Padres, where he was known for his speed and defensive prowess.

He won Gold Gloves in 1995 and 1996, which was the beginning of a string of five consecutive Gold Gloves for the outfielder.

Success with the Diamondbacks

Finley joined the Arizona Diamondbacks in 1999 and quickly became a fan favorite. He had a career-best season with the team in 2002, hitting .287 with 35 home runs, 94 RBIs, and 22 triples.

He led the league in triples and was a key player as the Diamondbacks won the National League West division. Finley was known for his clutch hitting and his defensive plays in the outfield.

He won two more Gold Gloves with the Diamondbacks in 2000 and 2001. In the 2001 World Series, Finley hit a game-winning grand slam in Game Five against the New York Yankees.

The Diamondbacks went on to win the series in seven games, securing their first and only World Series title to date. Throughout his time in Arizona, Finley was one of the team’s most reliable players, both offensively and defensively.

He finished his career with the Diamondbacks with a .281 batting average, 153 home runs, 610 RBIs, and 107 stolen bases.

Justin Upton

Justin Upton had a standout career with the Arizona Diamondbacks, earning three All-Star selections and a Silver Slugger award during his time with the team. Here’s a closer look at his draft and early career with the Diamondbacks, as well as his trade to the Atlanta Braves and subsequent moves.

Draft and

Early Career with the Diamondbacks

Justin Upton was selected by the Arizona Diamondbacks with the first overall pick in the 2005 MLB Draft. He debuted with the team in 2007 and had a solid rookie season, hitting .221 with two home runs and 11 RBIs.

Upton had a breakout season in 2009, hitting .300 with 26 home runs and 86 RBIs. He finished fourth in National League MVP voting that year and was named to the All-Star team for the first time in his career.

Over the next few seasons, Upton established himself as one of the best young hitters in the league, and he earned two more All-Star selections and a Silver Slugger award in 2011.

Trade to the Atlanta Braves and Subsequent Moves

In January 2013,

Justin Upton was traded to the Atlanta Braves as part of a seven-player deal. He had a strong season with the Braves, hitting .263 with 27 home runs and 70 RBIs.

Upton was traded again in December 2014, this time to the San Diego Padres.

He had a solid season with the Padres, hitting .251 with 26 home runs and 81 RBIs.

Upton signed a six-year, $132.75 million contract with the Detroit Tigers in January 2016. He spent two seasons with the team, hitting .245 with 63 home runs and 198 RBIs.

In November 2017, Upton was traded to the Los Angeles Angels in exchange for pitcher Grayson Long and a player to be named later.

He has been a key player for the Angels over the last few seasons, including hitting a walk-off home run in his first game back from injury in 2021

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