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D-backs unveil 20th anniversary team

Special to MLB.com

PHOENIX -- Arizona made professional sports history in 2001 by becoming the first expansion team to win a championship as early as its fourth season, so it probably should come as no surprise that half of the members of the D-backs' 20th anniversary team announced Friday is from that special year.

Pitchers Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling, the co-MVPs of the 2001 World Series team that beat the New York Yankees in seven games, were named to the 16-man group as selected by fan voting.

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PHOENIX -- Arizona made professional sports history in 2001 by becoming the first expansion team to win a championship as early as its fourth season, so it probably should come as no surprise that half of the members of the D-backs' 20th anniversary team announced Friday is from that special year.

Pitchers Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling, the co-MVPs of the 2001 World Series team that beat the New York Yankees in seven games, were named to the 16-man group as selected by fan voting.

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Game 7 hero Luis Gonzalez, whose dramatic walk-off single over a drawn-in infield drove in Jay Bell with the winning run, also made the team. So did Bell and Matt Williams, who hugged Bell after he crossed the plate as manager Bob Brenly leaped over the dugout railing to join the celebration.

Brenly was chosen as the manager.

"In just two decades, the franchise has shared countless memories with our fans," D-backs President & CEO Derrick Hall said. "It is only fitting that they would be the ones to vote for the best players in our history, as each of these players has left an indelible mark on our state and our organization."

Johnson, who won four straight Cy Young awards after joining Arizona in 1999, leads a star-studded five-man rotation that includes fellow Cy Young winner Brandon Webb, Schilling, Zack Greinke and Patrick Corbin. Greinke and Corbin just returned from the All-Star Game.

Closers Jose Valverde and Brad Ziegler were selected as the two relievers. Valverde is the franchise leader in saves and Ziegler is the leader in appearances.

Miguel Montero, a two-time NL All-Star during his nine years in Arizona, was chosen to catch that staff. Montero played on the D-backs' NL West title team in 2011.

Gonzalez, who leads the franchise in nearly offensive category including homers and games played, is joined in the outfield by a pair of stellar center fielders in Steve Finley and A.J. Pollock. Finley also was a member of the 2001 World Series winner.

The infield includes All-Stars Paul Goldschmidt at first base, Bell at second and Williams at third. Shortstop Tony Womack, the franchise leader in stolen bases, also made his mark in Game 7 in 2001, contributing a game-tying double in the ninth inning that led to Gonzalez's game-winner.

Brenly guided the D-backs to division titles in 2001-02 and had a .536 winning percentage in his 3 1/2 years on the job. He was the first first-year manager since Ralph Houk to win a World Series in 2001.

Jack Magruder is a contributor to MLB.com based in Phoenix.

Arizona Diamondbacks