We've gone through the NL East and NL Central in our Best Seasons series so far, so it's time to move on to the NL West. We'll start things off today with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The Dbacks have a pretty short history as they entered the league as an expansion team in 1998. They made an immediate impact though, winning 100 games in 1999. Two years later, they won their first and so far only World Series over the New York Yankees.
Those two seasons are the obvious contenders for the best Dbacks season of all-time, but only one can take the crown. As I've said before, winning the World Series is not a criteria for a team's best season. I'm looking at the team that was on the field, and the best team doesn't always win the World Series.
So with that in mind, I'm taking 1999 as the best Diamondbacks team in history. Their 100-62 record is the best the team has ever had. The '01 team won 92 games for comparison.
The '99 team also performed better at the plate, batting .277/.347/.459 with 216 home runs. In '01, the Diamondbacks hit .267/.34`1/.442 with 208 home runs.
Everyone knows the 2001 Diamondbacks for their pitching prowess that consisted of Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling. The two aces finished first and second in Cy Young voting, respectively. They also won co-World Series MVP for their performances against the Yankees in the postseason.
Despite their successes on the mound in 2001, the 1999 team was slightly better. The Diamondbacks finished the 1999 season with a 3.77 ERA compared to a 3.87 ERA in 2001.
Curt Schilling wasn't yet with the team in '99, but Randy Johnson was, and his dominant season led to his second Cy Young Award. Johnson finished the 1999 season with a 2.48 ERA and 364 strikeouts.
The 1999 team had four All-Stars - Jay Bell, Matt Williams, Johnson and Luis Gonzalez - compared to three on the 2001 squad.
Any way you look at it, the 1999 team looks better than the 2001 Dbacks. Although the team clinched a championship in 2001, the product that was put on the field was better in 1999. And for the Diamondbacks to perform that well in just their second season of existence really says something about the management of the team.