Classic D-backs card: Dunn in '09

December 9th, 2021

As part of the celebration of the 70th anniversary of Topps baseball cards, we've asked fans (as well as our staff) to submit their all-time favorite baseball cards, and we've broken them down by team. We'll be revealing submissions regularly throughout the season, ranging from the famous to the weird, and everything in between.

Adam Dunn, 2009 Topps Heritage

Dunn was an All-Star with the Reds. He was an All-Star with the White Sox. He had six 40-homer seasons between those two teams.

But wait … one of those seasons started with the Reds but ended with the D-backs. In August 2008, Dunn was traded from Cincinnati to Arizona, where he played 44 games and slugged eight home runs to bring his season total to 40 for a fifth straight year.

That was the only time Dunn spent in the desert. He signed with the Nationals that offseason. But his stint with the D-backs is commemorated on this card -- in two different photos, no less.

Tony Womack, 2001 Topps Finest

Womack, if you recall, had one of the biggest hits in D-backs history when delivered a game-tying double in the bottom of the ninth inning in Game 7 of the 2001 World Series. It came off legendary Yankees closer Mariano Rivera, no less. Arizona would go on to win that game on a walk-off single from Luis Gonzalez later in that frame.

This 2001 Topps Finest card is a great reminder of how clutch Womack was in that moment, as well as how solid he was out of the leadoff spot for Arizona when he played there from 1999-2003 -- he stole an MLB-best 72 bases in ’99, and overall, he hit .269 and swiped 182 bags for the D-backs.

Plus, Womack’s action shot in this card with the giant baseball behind him is awesome, and the fleeting lines around the ball give it a great “speedster” feel, perfect for someone as fleet of foot as Womack. -- Manny Randhawa

Brandon Webb, 2003 Topps Traded

Webb ranks third in D-backs history with 31.1 wins above replacement, according to Baseball-Reference, and among pitchers drafted by the organization, he ranks first.

An eighth-round Draft pick in 2000, Webb debuted three years later and was outstanding from the get-go, posting a 2.84 ERA (165 ERA+) over 180 2/3 innings as a rookie in '03. Topps included the right-hander in its ‘03 Traded set, a year-end set featuring prospects, rookies and traded players in new uniforms.

The card shows Webb on the mound, awaiting the sign from the catcher and wearing the D-backs’ gray pinstriped vest jersey, which was part of the team’s uniform set the same year it won the first World Series title in franchise history in '01.

Before his career was cut short by a shoulder injury, Webb put together an incredible six-year run, going 87-62 with a 3.24 ERA (143 ERA+) from '03-08. Webb won a Cy Young Award in ‘06 and finished second in the National League voting in both ‘07 and ‘08. -- Thomas Harrigan

Mark Grace, 2003 Topps Stadium Club ‘Born in the USA’

This is such a cool card. In 2003, Topps issued a special “Born in the USA” set as part of its Stadium Club line. Each card had the name of the state in which the subject player was born, along with an authentic piece of a game-worn jersey.

Grace, as can be seen on the card, was born in North Carolina, and he is shown here in a D-backs uniform. He spent most of his career with the Cubs (1988-2000), but it was with Arizona that he won his only World Series ring in 2001.

Jason H. of Monroe, Ohio, submitted this card in our survey, and notes its rarity in addition to how beautiful it is.

“A 1-of-1 autographed, game-used jersey from Topps Archives,” Jason wrote. “Great looking, a 1/1 and my favorite player of all time.”

That’s not a bad combination. -- Manny Randhawa

Brandon Webb, 2007 Topps

This card commemorates Webb's 2006 NL Cy Young Award win, with a great photo of him to go along with it.

The right-hander is captured just as he's about to release his pitch, no doubt one of his bowling-ball sinkers that made him the best pitcher in the league that season.

Webb went 16-8 with a 3.10 ERA in '06, pitching 235 innings and striking out 178 batters. That was the start of an elite three-season stretch from 2006-08 -- Webb was the Cy Young runner-up both of the next two years.

Luis Gonzalez, 2017 Topps

Given the magnitude of Gonzalez’s Game 7 walk-off hit in the 2001 World Series, which brought the D-backs their only title to date, the “Memorable Moments” headline atop this card almost seems like an understatement.

For D-backs fans, this wasn’t just a memorable moment. This was the moment.

It would have been special enough regardless of the opponent, but the fact that it came against Mariano Rivera, the first unanimous Hall of Famer, and the three-time-defending World Series champion Yankees makes it one of the most legendary moments in baseball history.

This card, from a ‘17 Topps set, captures a jubilant Gonzalez mid-leap in celebration after the hit, seemingly floating on air. -- Thomas Harrigan

Best D-backs facial hair card: Randy Johnson, 2001 Topps Heritage

The Big Unit was as intimidating a pitcher as they come. Sure, some of that intimidation came from his 6-11 frame and maybe the 100 mph fastball and devastating slider he featured. But don't undersell the facial hair. Johnson had a terrifying scowl on his face when he was on the mound determined to blow hitters away. It was only enhanced by the long hair and mustache.

We all know the rest of the story: Five Cy Young Awards, a no-hitter, a perfect game, more strikeouts than any left-handed pitcher in baseball history, and the Hall of Fame. Johnson's first Cy Young Award and first no-hitter came with the Mariners, where he became a star. But he became a legend with Arizona. This Topps Heritage card is a great snapshot of Johnson's time with the D-backs, being issued in the season he helped lead the them to their first World Series title.

And the story behind it is great, too. Felipe O. submitted this card all the way from Chile, where he became a baseball fan after watching the Big Unit and the D-backs' run to that 2001 World Series title. He never got to watch Johnson pitch in person, but he made the first overseas trip of his life to get to Cooperstown for Johnson's Hall of Fame induction ceremony in 2015. He bought this card on that trip from one of the card shops in Cooperstown.

"Ultimately the card accompanied me from Cooperstown to the rest of my month-long trip to America, and flew south back home with me," Felipe wrote. "Without a doubt it is one of my treasures and now it rests in safe hands, far away from its natural home." -- Manny Randhawa

Randy Johnson, 2002 Topps
The Big Unit broke a lot of records in his day. So this card commemorating his franchise-record 372 strikeouts in 2001 with the appearance of shattered glass is appropriate.

Johnson’s 372 strikeouts that season are the third-most in a single season in the modern era (since 1901), behind only Nolan Ryan (383 in 1973) and Sandy Koufax (382 in 1965). Overall, Johnson’s 4,875 career strikeouts are most all-time among left-handed pitchers, behind only Ryan’s 5,714 for the all-time record.

This card was submitted by Brett S. of Cleveland, who wrote about what memorabilia like this meant to him in terms of fostering a love for the game.

“Baseball cards were really instrumental in my developing love for baseball,” he wrote. “These cards gave me a window into so many more players and teams than I had just watching the Indians. I became a fan of all MLB because of playing baseball and collecting cards.” -- Manny Randhawa

Devon White, 1998 SkyBox Thunder

There weren’t a lot of positives for the D-backs in their inaugural 1998 season, but White was one of them. In fact, he was the franchise’s first All-Star.

A strong defensive center fielder who was part of three World Series champions -- the Blue Jays in 1992 and '93, and the Marlins in '97 -- White posted 20-plus homers and 20-plus steals in the same season for the second time in his career in ‘98 and led Arizona in most major offensive categories.

White left after the season to sign with the Dodgers as a free agent, and the D-backs quickly moved on to become a contender in 1999, so the outfielder’s one-year tenure with the club likely has long been forgotten by most fans.

Let's give White some love with this awesome card, which is quintessential late-1990s. -- Thomas Harrigan

Dan Haren, 2010 Topps Heritage

Haren had the finest season of his 13-year MLB career with the D-backs in 2009, when he posted a 3.14 ERA and MLB-leading 1.00 WHIP over 33 starts. Overall, he spent 2 1/2 seasons with Arizona, turning in a 3.56 ERA in 87 starts. His Twitter handle, @Ithrow88, is humorously self-deprecating given today's velocities among starting pitchers, but it worked for Haren, who had a 3.33 ERA over a five-season span from 2007-11.

On this Topps Heritage card, Haren looks determined to use that 88 mph fastball to dominate opposing hitters.

D-backs insert card: Steve Finley, 2001 Donruss Elite Die-Cut

One of the more interesting styles of insert card are die-cut cards, which say goodbye to the typical rectangular cardboard baseball card and trim it into a unique shape.

This one of Finley was made right after his first All-Star and Gold Glove season in Arizona, and right as he was about to lead the D-backs to their epic 2001 World Series win.

Luis Gonzalez, 2002 Topps

How great was Gonzalez’s 2001 season? Before notching a walk-off hit off future Hall of Famer Mariano Rivera in Game 7 of the World Series, giving Arizona its first title, Gonzalez hit a career-high 57 homers in the regular season and won the Home Run Derby in Seattle.

His home run total was good enough for a third-place finish in the Majors, and as a result he scored a place on this cool “League Leaders” card alongside Barry Bonds (73) and Sammy Sosa (64), two of the great sluggers in history, the following year.

It serves as a reminder of just how awesome Gonzo was in 2001. -- Thomas Harrigan

Steve Finley, 2011 Leaf Limited Greats

This is just a cool-looking card. And it brings back to mind one of the great and perhaps somewhat underrated players in D-backs history. Finley had just completed his age-33 season when he signed with Arizona prior to the 1999 season, but some of his best seasons were still ahead of him.

Over the next five-plus seasons, Finley hit .278/.351/.500 with 153 homers for the D-backs, also winning a Gold Glove Award for center field in both 1999 and 2000. He was also a key member of the 2001 World Series championship club -- that season, he posted a .904 OPS with 35 homers before hitting .365 during the postseason.

Just a solid baseball player, as they say. -- Manny Randhawa

1990s throwback card: Travis Lee, 1998 Score

Lee was the Original D-back, selected second overall in the 1996 Draft -- two years before the team’s inaugural season.

Although he didn’t live up to the hype, the first baseman had the franchise’s first hit, homer, RBI and run scored on March 31, 1998, and he was part of the trade package that landed Curt Schilling from the Phillies, so he’ll always hold a special place in D-backs history.

The 1998 Score set had one of Lee’s first cards, showing him rocking the team's classic purple and teal “A” logo. The one batting glove look is also outstanding. -- Thomas Harrigan

Matt Williams, 1998 Topps Gold Label

There is just so much to love about this card. Most people remember Williams for his time with the Giants -- he was drafted and developed by the organization and played his first 10 seasons with San Francisco. He was traded to Cleveland in the winter of 1996, and after a season there, he joined the expansion D-backs.

Here we have Williams in a tremendous old-school Arizona uniform, and a very rarely-seen white D-backs cap. And as a bonus we get action shots of Williams both fielding and hitting -- he won four Gold Glove Awards at the hot corner and slugged 378 homers during his MLB career, 99 of which came with Arizona from 1998 through 2003, his final season.

Williams had a huge year for the D-backs in 1999, finishing third in NL MVP Award voting and earning his fifth career All-Star selection. He posted an .880 OPS with 35 home runs and a career-best 142 RBIs.

This card is a gem for its style, the player it features, and some sweet uniforms -- both home and road. We're talking purple and teal with pinstripes on the threads, as well as the original D-backs logo and purple brim on the cap. Just fantastic. -- Manny Randhawa

Randy Johnson, 2017 Topps

To celebrate the 30th anniversary of its popular 1987 set, Topps added inserts in ‘17 that replicated the ‘87 design, which was characterized by its woodgrain borders.

One of the cards in this subset was the Big Unit with the D-backs, and Topps picked a great action shot of the left-hander that captures the ball in flight and provides a sense of what it might have been like to step into the batter’s box against him.

Johnson was still a year away from his MLB debut with the Expos at the time the initial ‘87 set was released. His first Topps card came in ‘89. -- Thomas Harrigan

Daniel Descalso, 2017 Topps Now

Descalso was never a superstar, but he was a fan favorite for Tom Murray of Gilbert, Ariz., who sent in this card.

"He brought so much positivity to the team and the fans," Murray writes. "What a great player with a sense of humor that kept people smiling. Miss him in Arizona."

Descalso played for the D-backs from 2017-18, hitting 23 home runs in that span. This card captures him hitting a walk-off single in the 11th inning on June 25, 2017.