We all remember Luis Gonzalez’ 2001 World Series-winning hit in game 7, to propel the Diamondbacks over the heavily-favored Yankees. Still many remember that it was Jay Bell who scored the winning run on the Gonzalez bloop single. But these guys (Outside of Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling) are two of the least obscure ballplayers who were on that team. It just goes to show, the most talented team doesn’t always win the World Series.
Consider the man who scored the tying run in that game 7, after pinch-running for Damien Miller: obscure outfielder Midre Cummings. Cummings had just 20 plate appearances as a Diamondback, but figured quite heavily in the World Series. David Delucci was on that team, as well as Mark Grace, who had an excellent Major League career but was on his way out by the time he played for the D-Backs.
A man memorable mostly for his batting stance, infielder Craig Counsell, was the leadoff man for the ’01 Diamondbacks. Counsell, of course, had a knack for being on World Series winning teams despite his own relative obscurity. More on the 1997 Marlins at a later date.
NLCS game 5 hero Erubiel Durazo hit .364 in the World Series that year. And who could forget about obscure legend Junior Spivey?
Of course, outfielder Reggie Sanders had arguably the best year of his career, he hit 33 home runs in 2001, his only season in Arizona. Matt Williams was past his prime by 2001, but he still played in 106 games for the Diamondbacks that year, hitting 16 home runs. More on Matt Williams at a later date.
Jack Cust made his debut for the World Series champs that year– he had just two plate appearances all season. A young Lyle Overbay also made two plate appearances in 2001. I wonder if they got rings for their contributions.
Modern baseball mystery Byung-Hyun Kim was the closer who famously gave up multiple walkoff homers in the series. Albie Lopez came out of that bullpen, as well as Greg Swindell. What am I saying here? Well, the point is, the 2001 Diamondbacks had a lot more obscure athletes than most championship-winning teams. That’s all. And I remember how fired up I was that my dad let me stay up to watch the end of game 7. It was awesome.