With the Major League Baseball postseason just around the corner, I thought I would celebrate each of the franchise’s and their storied pasts by selecting an All-Time Team for every club.
The teams consist of one player per infield position (1B, 2B, SS, 3B, C), three outfielders, three starting pitchers, and two relief pitchers. Each American League squad also consists of a designated hitter.
The All-Time Teams will be in order, starting with baseball’s newest clubs (Rays and Diamondbacks) and conclude with the oldest franchise, the Atlanta Braves. Without further ado, here is part two of a 30-part series documenting each franchise’s all-time greats.
First Base: Paul Goldschmidt 2011-present
Perhaps the greatest offensive player in club history, Goldschmidt made an instant impact after being called up in 2011 as he helped Arizona win the NL West. In 2013 he was named an All-Star for the first time, leading the NL in home runs (36) and RBI (125) while winning a Gold Glove, Silver Slugger, Fielding Bible, and the NL Hank Aaron Award and finishing second in the MVP vote. After an All-Star campaign in 2014, Goldschmidt had another outstanding season in 2015, being named an All-Star while winning a Gold Glove, Silver Slugger and Fielding Bible for the second time, again finishing as the MVP runner-up. After another All-Star year in 2016, he helped the Diamondbacks win the NL Wild Card in 2017 while winning his third career Gold Glove, Silver Slugger, and Fielding Bible. With a sixth consecutive All-Star selection in 2018, Goldschmidt will no doubt see his number 44 jersey retired at Chase Field when his career ends.
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Second Base: Jay Bell 1998-02
A key contributor during the early success of the expansion Diamondbacks, Bell helped the club claim the NL West title in just the second year of the franchise, while being named an NL All-Star. During the 2001 season, he helped Arizona win the NL West and NL pennant, and scored the series-winning run in Game 7 of the World Series against the Yankees, giving the team its first world championship. During his final year in the desert, Bell helped the Diamondbacks return to the postseason as NL West champions.
Shortstop: Tony Womack 1999-03
In his first season in Arizona, Womack helped the club win the NL West title while leading the league in stolen bases, setting a Diamondbacks single-season record (72) that still stands today. A major contributor during the 2001 season, he helped the team win the NL West and NL pennants, setting up the game-winning hit in the 2001 World Series. During his final full season in Phoenix, Womack helped the club win the NL West in 2002 and is the Diamondbacks all-time stolen bases leader (182).
Third Base: Matt Williams 1998-03
Williams joined the Diamondbacks during their inaugural season, helping the team win the NL West in just its second year as a franchise, while being named an All-Star during that 1999 campaign. He helped the team win the 2001 NL West, NL, and World Series championships, becoming the fastest expansion club to win a title. In 2002 he helped Arizona repeat as NL West champions before retiring after the 2003 season.
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Catcher: Miguel Montero 2006-14
The longest tenured player in Diamondbacks history, Montero helped the club win the NL West title in just his second season. Four years later in 2011, Arizona won the NL West again with Montero being named an NL All-Star for the first time. During his final year with the team in 2014, he was named an All-Star for the second time.
Outfield: Luis Gonzalez 1999-06
The author of the greatest offensive season in team history and the 2001 World Series-winning hit, Gonzalez became a club legend during his eight seasons in a Diamondbacks uniform. He was named an All-Star during the 1999 NL West championship season and became the first player in team history to hit for the cycle during the 2000 campaign. Gonzalez’s numbers went through the roof in 2001, hitting 57 home runs and driving in 142 runs, being named an All-Star and winning the Home Run Derby while winning a Silver Slugger award. His biggest moment came in the postseason though, where after leading Arizona to the NL West and NL pennants, Gonzalez recorded the Series-winning hit in Game 7 of the 2001 World Series, delivering the Diamondbacks a championship. During his final five years in the desert, he was named an All-Star three more times (2002-03, 2005) while helping Arizona win the 2002 NL West title. In 2010, Gonzalez became the first player in Diamondbacks history to have his jersey retired (No. 20).
Outfield: Justin Upton 2007-12
During a six-year stint with Arizona, Upton became one of the top players in team history. During his rookie season he helped the Diamondbacks win the NL West and in 2009 was named to his first NL All-Star team. During the 2011 campaign, Upton was named an All-Star for the second time while winning a Silver Slugger and Fielding Bible, leading Arizona to the NL West championship.
Outfield: Steve Finley 1999-04
In just his first year with the Diamondbacks, Finley was a key contributor for the 1999 NL West champions, winning a Gold Glove in center field. After being selected to the NL All-Star team in 2000 and winning a second straight Gold Glove, Finley helped lead Arizona win the 2001 NL West, NL,and World Series championships. During the 2002 campaign he helped the Diamondbacks repeat as NL West champions and in 2003 he led the NL in triples (10), becoming the oldest player in league history to do so.
Starting pitcher: Randy Johnson 1999-04, 2007-08
The greatest player in Diamondbacks history, Johnson unleashed perhaps the greatest run for a pitcher in MLB history from 1999-02 going a combined 81-27 with a 2.48 ERA and 1,417 strikeouts. During those seasons he was named to four straight All-Star teams, led the league in ERA twice, strikeouts all four years, wins in 2002 while also winning four consecutive Warren Spahn Awards and four Cy Young Awards, as well as the 2002 Triple Crown. During the four-season run, Johnson led Arizona to three NL West titles, and the 2001 NL pennant and World Series championship, being named co-MVP of the 2001 World Series. Keep in mind he did all of this between the age of 36-39, which is absolutely astounding. After being named an All-Star again in 2004 while leading the NL in strikeouts and throwing the first (and only) perfect game in Diamondbacks history, Johnson was traded in the offseason, only to return in 2007 helping Arizona win the NL West. in 2015, his No. 51 jersey was retired and he was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
Starting pitcher: Curt Schilling 2000-03
During a four-season stint with the Diamondbacks, Schilling was a major component of the team’s success. During the 2001 season, he led the league in wins while being named an All-Star, helping Arizona win the NL West, NL and World Series championships. He was named co-MVP of the World Series along with Randy Johnson. Schilling repeated as an All-Star selection in 2002, helping the Diamondbacks win the NL West for the second straight year.
Starting pitcher: Brandon Webb 2003-09
If it weren’t for injuries, Webb would rank even higher among the Diamondbacks all-time greats. In just his fourth season, he was named an All-Star while leading the NL in wins, taking home the 2006 NL Cy Young Award. Webb was again named an All-Star in 2007 as Arizona won the NL West title, and in 2008 he led the NL in wins for a second time and was named to his third straight All-Star team. After missing most of the 2009 and all of 2010 seasons due to injury, Webb left the team during free agency.
Relief pitcher: Jose Valverde 2003-07
During a five-year run in Arizona, Valverde became the top closer in team history. After a few rough and injury-plagued seasons, he had a breakout 2007 campaign, leading MLB in saves (47) while being named an NL All-Star and winning the NL Rolaids Relief Man Award, helping the Diamondbacks win the NL West. Following the season, he was traded. Valverde is currently the teams all-time saves leader (98).
Relief pitcher: Byung-hyun Kim 1999-03, 2007
The star of the bullpen during the early days of the club, Kim helped the Diamondbacks win the 1999 NL West title in his first season. During the 2001 campaign he helped Arizona win the NL West and NL pennants, as well as the 2001 World Series championship. During a career best season in 2002, Kim set the new franchise mark for saves in a season (36-since broken) while being named an NL All-Star and helping the Diamondbacks win the NL West title.
Others considered: Orlando Hudson, A.J. Pollack, Zack Greinke, Patrick Corbin, Damian Miller