Acquired: 12/18/1998. Signed as a Free Agent with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Career with AZ: .278/.351/.500 - 153 HR, 479 RBI
Best year 2000: .280/.361/.544 - 35 HR, 96 RBI
Other facts: 2nd in OPS (.851), games (849), runs (491), hits (847), doubles (150), triples (34), HR (153), RBI (337) and SB (70).
Biggest moment: Starting the only triple-play in Arizona history (5/31/2001), catching McGwire's fly ball, before firing home to nail Polanco, from where Damian Miller caught Renteria advancing to third.
Departed: 7/31/2004. Traded by the Arizona Diamondbacks with Brent Mayne to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Koyie Hill, Bill Murphy and Reggie Abercrombie.
2005 was the first full year without Steve Finley patrolling center field at BOB since 1998. And it was perhaps only after watching Jose Cruz Jr. and Luis Terrero stumble around out there, with all the grace of blindfolded oxen, that we truly appreciated what we had lost. A skilled center-fielder is a joy to watch, and Finley won three Gold Gloves during his time here (1999, 2000 and 2004). He may not often have made the highlight reels, but that's because his jumps, reads and routes to the ball were near-perfect, making the difficult plays look easy.
Finley was a notoriously streaky hitter (even in an era where such things are frowned upon, statistically speaking) - he'd be phenomenally cold for weeks, or even months at a time, then catch fire, and go on a ferocious tear where he'd hit everything in sight. 2002 would be a typical example - after hitting .242 through May 31, he batted .356 in June. Fortunately, the 2001 post-season was also one of his hot spells, hitting at a .365 clip with 9 RBI and a home run off Mike Mussina in Game 5.
His defense was perhaps an equally important factor - you might remember his fabulous running catch of Shane Spencer to end the second innings of Game 7. Finley also had 5 RBI during Arizona's sole playoff game victory before that series, in 2000 vs. the Mets and we definitely saw the best of post-season Finley: his .369 (24-for-65) average overall for the Diamondbacks contrasts sharply with his .170 in 28 games there for the Padres, Dodgers and Angels.
Often forgotten is that Finley struggled with back issues through much of his early days in Arizona, undergoing surgery on a ruptured disk during the 2000-2001 offseason. And while everyone remembers Mark Grace's night on the mound, Finley also did mop-up work on 8/30/2001. Unlike Grace, Finley actually pitched a hitless innings, making him one of only two D'backs with a zero ERA in their time here. But it's as an always-dangerous hitter, and an excellent center fielder, that Finley will be remembered, and it's why he deserves inclusion here.