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Arizona Diamondbacks All-Time Top 50: #50, Greg Swindell

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We start off our rankings with one of the few men to be on three Diamondbacks’ playoff rosters.

World Series GM1 X
  • Avg ranking (high/low/most common): 44.76 (27/50/46)
  • Seasons: 1999-2002
  • Stats: 225 games, 227.1 IP, 3.76 ERA, 124 ERA+, 4.1 bWAR
  • Best season: 1999 - 63 games, 64.2 IP, 2.50 ERA, 183 ERA+, 2.0 bWAR

Swindell was signed as a free agent to a $5.7 million, three-year contract at the end of 1998, and became a key cog of the bullpen, as the Diamondbacks made their first post-season appearance. In that campaign, the then 34-year-old led the team in appearances and was likely the best reliever, with a sparkling 183 ERA+. He threw 3.1 scoreless innings in the playoffs, though Arizona didn’t make it past the Division Series. That wasn’t the case two years later, when Swindell was again an important part of our NL West-winning side. His 64 appearances there were behind only Byung-Hyun Kim, and Greg pitched seven times that post-season, allowing one run over 4.2 frames.

That included closing out Game 1 of the World Series (below) with a zero in the ninth, to seal the Diamondbacks’ first ever victory on the biggest stage of baseball. He also had scoreless outings for Arizona in Games 3 and 5, then said afterward, ”The World Championship means everything. You play this game for that reason. A lot of players in the clubhouse at the end of the year had put so much time and work in, and had never reached that pinnacle. To be able to do that on such a veteran club, to see the joy on all those faces, was really great... To get there for the first time and win it, you couldn't ask for any more.”

Swindell had been signed to an extension covering 2002 and 2003 before that World Series season, but had a disappointing 2002. He missed the first month with tendinitis in the shoulder, then had to go on the DL again on August 21 with a lower back strain. Greg ended the year with a 6.70 ERA and was released by the Diamondbacks at the end of spring training in 2003, allowing him to focus on caring for his autistic son. It closed the book on a career which covered 17 years in total, and included an All-Star appearance in 1989. He did some post-game work for the Diamondbacks, and since 2011, Greg has been covering baseball as an analyst for the Longhorn Network.

Swindell and Randy Johnson are the only pitchers to have taken part in three post-seasons for the Diamondbacks. The shorter left-hander’s 225 games for Arizona puts him seventh on the team’s all-time list among pitchers, and his dozen playoff appearances is far and away the most by any Arizona hurler, with no-one else having made more than eight. He had a 2.16 ERA there, allowing two runs over 8.1 innings of post-season work.