LeBron James caused some stir in the sports world when he was asked about who he would put on the NBA’s so-called Mount Rushmore. He said Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, and Oscar Robertson. He caused a lot of buzz when he didn’t include the NBA’s greatest ambassador and champion Bill Russell. Now everybody in every sport is talking about who should be on the sport’s or their team’s Mount Rushmore. Yes, I know you are tired about this subject but I have to ask the question: who should be on the Arizona Diamondbacks’ Mount Rushmore? Just like on the real Mount Rushmore there are only four spots and tough decisions had to be made. Without further ado, here is who I think who should make the D’backs Mount Rushmore:
Just missing the cut:
Paul Goldschmidt: While Paul had a breakout MVP performance in 2013 putting together one of the best seasons of any Diamondback, it’s still only one season and with only four spots there were more proven players that deserved a place over him. Goldy will be a D’back for years to come and the face of this franchise and there is no doubt in my mind that if he keeps it up he will have his face on the D’back Rushmore.
Matt Williams: In six years with the team from 1998 to 2003, he had one great season hitting 35 home runs and driving in 142, one of the best offensive campaigns in club history. He was a huge part of the success of the 2001 World Series team, providing leadership for the younger players on that squad. After retiring, he came back to the organization in 2010, coaching third base up until last season before landing a job as a manager with the Washington Nationals. Williams got strong consideration for me but one great season doesn’t cut it to make the Snakes’ Mount Rushmore.
Steve Finley: He played eight great seasons in Arizona and was also a critical part of the 2001 World Series championship. His best season was in 1999 when he hit 34 home runs and drove in 103. He owns the second highest WAR in D’backs’ history which to me is one of the most important stats to determine the value to your team. Finley was probably the hardest guy to leave off but there were others that were a little more deserving.
Mark Grace: Grace played three seasons with the team and enjoyed his best one during that magical 2001 run. He was a tremendous presence in the clubhouse, imparting wisdom to rookies and veterans, alike. This also a hard one for me to leave off.
Jose Valverde: He had the greatest season of any reliever in club history and was a big part of the D’backs run to the National League Championship Series in 2007. However, his resume does not warrant one of the four spots.
In the short run of this franchise, the Diamondbacks have seen a lot of great players come through the organization but only four of the greatest can go on Mount Rushmore. Without further ado here are the Fab Four:
Luis Gonzalez: The most popular Diamondback and maybe the most popular sports figure in Arizona sports history, he is the reason for the only professional sports championship in the state. He ended the Yankee dynasty on a November night hitting a blooper over Derek Jeter‘s head against the legendary Mariano Rivera to win the 20o1 World Series for the D’backs. However, he had many other special moments during his career with the team. In nine years in Arizona he had four straight 100 RBI seasons including driving in 142 during the 2001 season and was a leader on and off the field. Today, he is a special assistant to the organization advocating on the D’backs behalf. He is my favorite player ever and he definitely deserves a spot on their Mount Rushmore.
Randy Johnson: Without the Big Unit, the D’backs wouldn’t have been World Series Champions. He won two games and captured Co-MVP honors with Curt Schilling. During his eight years with the team, he had six seasons of at least 11 wins with his best one coming in 2002. He had 24 victories with an ERA of 2.32, leading the National League in strikeouts with 334. He won four straight Cy Young awards from 1999-2002 and was one of the most dominant pitchers of his era. A clear first ballot Hall of Famer and the best pitcher in team history clearly deserves a spot on Mount Rushmore.
Curt Schilling: Besides the Unit, Schilling is probably the best pitcher in franchise history. His two win performance in the Fall Classic brought him Co-MVP honors. Without Schilling there would have been no Championship considering how much they struggled in the Bronx. In 2001, he went 22-6 with a 2.98 ERA and took home Sports Illustrated’s Sportsman of the Year sharing yet another honor with RJ. He was also the first player to win the both the Branch Rickey and Roberto Clemente Awards. He had other great years with Arizona as well but his performance in 2001 puts him on the Mount.
Brandon Webb: Even though his career was cut short due to injury, during his time with the Snakes he was one of the best pitchers in the Majors. In 2007 he won the Cy Young Award by logging the franchise single season record for scoreless innings with 42. While he had some bad years with the team he was very productive. Originally drafted in 2000, Webb finished third in the Rookie of the Year voting in 2003. In 2008, the final full season of his D’backs’ career he finished with 22 wins leading the league but lost the Cy Young to the Giants’ Tim Lincecum.
Who do you think deserves to be on the Diamondbacks Mount Rushmore?