Randy Johnson’s Top 5 Arizona Diamondbacks’ Moments

By Thomas Lynch
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Signing Randy Johnson put the D’backs on the map. Credit: hardballtalk.com

5-December 10, 1998

The Diamondbacks had just wrapped up their first year of existence in Major League Baseball with a record of 66-96. From the outset, it was clear the organization wanted to win quickly. They hired Buck Showalter, the man who guided the New York Yankees to the playoffs for the first time in 14 years. The initial team featured established veterans like Matt Williams and Jay Bell who stuck around long enough to see the ultimate reward in 2001. They also traded for seven-time Gold Glove winner Devon White, who was an All-Star for the Snakes in ’98 but gone the next year. These were all nice moves.

However, it was the signing of the most imposing pitcher in the game that put the rest of baseball on notice. Johnson’s signing was a game-changer for the rest of the National League West. It gave the franchise a presence and suddenly a middling pitching staff was turned into one anchored by the fearsome lefty. The signing of All-Star outfielder Steve Finley later that month and the acquisition of another less-known outfielder named Luis Gonzalez along with their new ace transformed Arizona from doormat in 1998 to division champs in 1999.

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