The 5 best seasons in D-backs history

February 22nd, 2021

When you think of the best team in D-backs history, your mind probably lands on the 2001 World Series champions, and it's a title they deserve.

You might be surprised to learn that the 2001 team actually didn't have the best regular-season record.

Here's a look at the Top 5 regular-season records by D-backs teams over the years:

1) 1999, 100-62
After watching his team struggle to a 65-97 record in its inaugural 1998 season, then-D-backs owner Jerry Colangelo spent heavily on free agents, including left-hander Randy Johnson, center fielder Steve Finley, left-hander Greg Swindell and versatile infielder Greg Colbrunn. General manager Joe Garagiola Jr. then pulled off a steal of a deal with the Tigers, acquiring outfielder Luis Gonzalez for Minor Leaguer Karim Garcia.

It all added up to a stunning turnaround as the D-backs easily won the National League West by 14 games before falling in four games to the Mets in the Division Series.

2) 2002, 98-64
Coming off a World Series title the year before, the 2002 team won six more games, thanks in part to Johnson and Curt Schilling somehow finding ways to improve upon their '01 seasons.

Johnson (24-5) and Schilling (23-7) each won more games in 2002, with Johnson lowering his ERA to 2.32 and winning his fourth straight NL Cy Young Award.

Though their season would officially come to an close after being swept by the Cardinals in the Division Series, the demise of the D-backs started a couple of weeks before that when star left fielder Gonzalez suffered a separated left shoulder in a collision with shortstop Tony Womack on Sept. 23, requiring season-ending surgery.

The D-backs were also without the services of Craig Counsell and Danny Bautista in the series with the Cardinals.

3) 2011, 94-68
After finishing a disastrous 2010 season with a 65-97 record that cost GM Josh Byrnes and manager A.J. Hinch their jobs, no one expected much of the D-backs when Spring Training opened in '11.

And after performing poorly during Spring Training, it seemed that 2011 could be another lost season in Arizona. The D-backs, though, under manager Kirk Gibson, surprised the baseball world by winning the NL West by eight games over the Giants.

After dropping the first two games of the Division Series to the Brewers in Milwaukee, the D-backs won the next two at home, setting up a dramatic Game 5 at Miller Park. Trailing 2-1 heading into the ninth in that game, the D-backs tied things up only to lose in walk-off fashion in the 10th.

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4) 2017 D-backs, 93-69
Once again, the D-backs were coming off a last-place finish that cost the general manager (Dave Stewart) and manager (Chip Hale) their jobs.

And just like in 2011, the '17 edition of the D-backs would go on to outperform expectations, going 93-69. The record wasn't good enough to beat out the 104-win Dodgers for the NL West title, but it netted the D-backs the top Wild Card spot.

After beating the Rockies, 11-8, in a thrilling Wild Card Game at Chase Field, the D-backs were quickly eliminated by the Dodgers, who swept them in three games in the Division Series.

5) 2001 D-backs, 92-70
They may not hold the best record in D-backs history, but the 2001 team will be known as the best in team history until the organization is able to win another World Series.

It was a veteran group of players, but all except Counsell were seeking their first ring and were willing to sacrifice playing time in order to get it. That buy-in allowed first-year manager Bob Brenly, who had been the team's color analyst on TV the previous three years, to mix and match his lineups all year long.

The D-backs edged out the Giants by two games for the NL West title and they were pushed to five games by the Cardinals in the Division Series before prevailing on Tony Womack's walk-off single. Arizona breezed by the Braves in five games in the Championship Series before facing the Yankees in the World Series.

Coming not long after the 9/11 terror attacks, the World Series was filled with emotion and the two teams battled for seven games before the D-backs won on Gonzalez's walk-off bloop single to left.