This is the first in a series that looks at the five best players at each position for every Major League team. Each team will be broken up into six groups, starting with catchers and managers followed by corner infielders (first and third basemen), middle infielders (second basement and shortstops), outfielders (and designated hitters for American League teams), left- and right-handed starting pitchers and finally, relief pitchers. Hopefully, this series is informative and entertaining, and leads to some positive discussion and debate.
The Arizona Diamondbacks are celebrating their 25th season in 2023, having begun play in 1998 (a fact that depresses this writer, since he was a senior in high school at the time). Although a lot can happen in 25 years, it is not a lot of time to create a history when compared to longer-tenured franchises.
However, the Diamondbacks created one of the most memorable moments in 21st-century baseball with a seven-game World Series victory over the New York Yankees in 2001. New York had won titles in four of the previous five seasons and held a 3-2 series lead after getting to Arizona closer Byung-Hyun Kim the previous two games.
The Diamondbacks dominated Game 6 behind future Hall of Famer (and future Yankee) Randy Johnson, then scored twice against Mariano Rivera in Game 7, with Luis Gonzalez‘s bloop single over the drawn-in infield driving in Jay Bell for the improbable victory.
Many players from Arizona’s six playoff teams, especially that 2001 club, will be appearing on these lists in the days to come. Without further ado, here are the top five catchers and managers in Diamondbacks history.
The Best Catchers and Managers in Arizona Diamondbacks History
5. Kelly Stinnett – He was a starter in Arizona’s first season and went on to drive in 117 runs in 315 games over four seasons.
3. Chris Snyder – Split his seven seasons in Arizona between being a starter and a reserve. Snyder started on the 2007 team that went to the National League Championship Series, and he drove in 240 runs in 556 games.
2. Damian Miller – He was with Arizona during their first five seasons and was a National League All-Star in 2002. He took over for Stinnett in 1999 and was the starter for a team that went to the playoffs three times in four seasons. Miller drove in 194 runs in 467 games and was behind the plate when the Diamondbacks beat the Yankees in the 2001 World Series.
1. Miguel Montero – The best offensive catcher in team history, Montero hit .264 and drove in 448 runs in 906 games over nine seasons in Arizona. He was an All-Star in 2011 and 2014.
5. Kirk Gibson – Amassed a 353-375 record over parts of five seasons. The former hero for the Dodgers in the 1988 World Series led the Diamondbacks to the playoffs and a National League West title in 2014.
4. Bob Melvin – Led Arizona to a 337-340 record in his five seasons at the helm. The longtime Athletics manager took the Diamondbacks to the NLCS in 2007.
3. Buck Showalter – Arizona’s first manager is one of only two skippers in team history to post a winning record (250-236 in three seasons). The current Mets manager led the Diamondbacks to their first playoff appearance in 1999.
2. Torey Lovullo – Arizona’s current manager is in his seventh season with the club and has a 463-497 record. Lovullo took the Diamondbacks to the playoffs in his first season (2017) and has the team in first place at the All-Star break this year.
1. Bob Brenly – The former Giants catcher and FOX analyst took over for Schowalter in 2001 and went 303-262 over the next four seasons. Brenly led Arizona to the playoffs in his first two years at the helm, including the team’s only title in 2001.
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