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The Arizona Diamondbacks Alumni Game: Ranking the Participants

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The annual Diamondbacks Alumni Game takes place at Chase Field this Saturday, with a bevy of former players scheduled to take place in a contest before the evening’s contest against the Reds. But, not all former players are created equal. So, to assist attendees, here are all the currently listed attendees, in descending order of... Diamondbackness.

Mark Little. Who?
Mark Little. Who?
Brian Bahr/Getty Images

As for what "Diamondbackness" is, I was initially going to use WAR, but fans don’t necessarily care about actual production. Sure, we recognize it when we see it, but the list of worst D-backs ever by WAR includes some surprising names. The all-time lowest belongs to a player who started a game in the 2001 World Series and hit a home-run too - Rod Barajas, at -2.0. He’s remembered rather more fondly than that. So, I’ve gone with playing time for Arizona as the better metric. And to compare pitchers and hitters, I’ve equated one batter faced with one plate appearance.

Of course, this is not necessarily accurate either. Not all PAs are equal. Closers like J.J. Putz, for example, will always have a higher public profile than a reliever who toils away in mid-inning anonymity. Anyone involved with the 2001 World Series team probably deserves a 2x bonus, and off-field activities likely enhance the profile of, say, Mark Grace. [I mean his stint in the commentary booth, naturally] This is notable particularly for Jay Bell, who had more PA here than two-thirds of the position player participants in the Legends Race. But he didn't stick around afterward, and so largely faded from consciousness.

There are certainly some surprises in the rankings. Armando Reynoso is all but forgotten these days, but still ranks 16th all-time in team history for wins, and 17th for innings pitched. Part of the reason, I think, is that even though he was here for part of three playoff years, he never pitched in the post-season for Arizona. Elmer Dessens is another name who ended further up the list than expected. Going in the other direction, did Mike Fetters only pitch 43.1 innings for the D-backs? And I could have sworn Albie Lopez started more than 13 games, though he likely benefits from the World Series bump mentioned, even if he was 0-2 with a 9.95 ERA that post-season.

Anyway, here are the rankings in full, with the number of PA or BF as appropriate.

    Legends (literal or otherwise)
  1. Brandon Webb (5,515)
  2. Luis Gonzalez (5,246)
  3. Jay Bell (2,547)
  4. Matt Williams (2,462)
  5. Fondly remembered
  6. Chris Snyder (1,916)
  7. Joe Saunders (1,793)
  8. He played 4 years here? Are you sure?
  9. Armando Reynoso (1,676)
  10. Warm fuzzies
  11. Alex Cintron (1,545)
  12. David Dellucci (1,322)
  13. TIL Dessens should be in the Legends Race
  14. Elmer Dessens (1,167)
  15. Mark Grace (1,056)
  16. Oh, yeah: I remember them
  17. Kelly Stinnett (1,043)
  18. Greg Swindell (936)
  19. Erubiel Durazo (901)
  20. No, you’re thinking of Albie Lopez
  21. Rodrigo Lopez (874)
  22. The chant more than the player
  23. Augie Ojeda (806)
  24. Deserves bravery medal for returning
  25. Russ Ortiz (664)
  26. Japanese-born player division
  27. Stephen Randolph (664) - Takashi Saito clearly otherwise engaged.
  28. Special assistant alumni
  29. J.J. Putz (649)
  30. Anybody? Anybody?
  31. Amaury Telemaco (547)
  32. "Is he the one we’re still paying a deferred salary?"
  33. Reggie Sanders (496) - And, no. That’s Bernard Gilkey.
  34. Ironically-named pitchers for $200, please, Alex
  35. Andrew Good (466)
  36. No, you’re thinking of Rodrigo Lopez
  37. Albie Lopez (329)
  38. The vaguest of vague bells
  39. Mike Gosling (266)
  40. Bret Prinz (250)
  41. More for Grace's impersonation than on the field
  42. Mike Fetters (212)
  43. Who? No, really. Who?
  44. Andy Stankiewicz (155)
  45. Joel Adamson (104)
  46. Scott Brow (98)
  47. Mark Little (28)

At first I though Little perhaps deserved a pass, since he was the bullpen catcher for us. Nope. That's Mark Reed. When I Google Little's name, baseball barely even makes it onto the first page, as he comes in behind Mark Little (Canadian comedian), Mark Little (Australian actor) and Mark Little (journalist). He appeared in 15 games for the D-backs during the 2002 season, after being traded from the Mets for P.J. Bevis. He went 6-for-22 with no home runs and two RBI; we did resign him as a free-agent that winter, but he was cut during spring training. You now know everything about Little I do.