Arizona Diamondbacks Team History
In the fall of 1993, Jerry Colangelo, majority owner of the Phoenix Suns, the area’s NBA franchise, announced he was assembling an ownership group, “Arizona Baseball, Inc.”, to apply for a Major League Baseball expansion team. This was after a great deal of lobbying by the Maricopa County Sports Authority, a local group formed to preserve Cactus League spring training in Arizona and eventually secure a Major League franchise for the state. On March 9, 1995, Colangelo’s group was awarded a franchise to begin play for the 1998 season. A $130 million franchise fee was paid to Major League Baseball. The Tampa Bay Area was also granted a franchise, the Devil Rays (to be based in St. Petersburg), at the same time. According to the original press release from Colangelo’s group which remained posted on the team website during the first few seasons the chosen team colors were Arizona turquoise, copper, black and purple. “Turquoise was chosen because the greenish-blue stone is indigenous to Arizona, copper because Arizona is one the nation’s top copper-producing states and purple because it has become a favorite color for Arizona sports fans, thanks to the success of the National Basketball Association’s Phoenix Suns.”
Chase Field is a stadium located in downtown Phoenix, Arizona and is the home of the Arizona Diamondbacks of Major League Baseball. It opened in 1998, in time for the Diamondbacks’ first game as an expansion team. Chase Field was the first stadium built in the United States with a retractable roof over a natural-grass playing surface.
The park was built during a wave of new, baseball-only parks in the 1980s and 1990s. Although nearly all of these parks were open-air, it was taken for granted that a domed stadium was a must for a major-league team to be a viable venture in the Phoenix area. Phoenix is by far the hottest major city in North America; the average high temperature during baseball’s regular season is 99.1 °F (37.3 °C), and game-time temperatures well above 100 °F (38 °C) are very common during the summer.
In 2001, the team was led by two of the most dominant pitchers in all of baseball: Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling. Arizona had postseason victories over the St. Louis Cardinals (3 – 2 in the NLDS) and the Atlanta Braves (4 – 1 in the NLCS) to advance to the World Series where, in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks in New York City, they beat the three-time reigning champions, the New York Yankees, 4 to 3, to become the youngest expansion franchise to win the World Series in just their fourth season of play. The previous mark was held by the Florida Marlins. This was the first time since 1991 that the home team won all seven games of a World Series and the first time that a National League team won a World Series in which the home team won all seven games of a World Series.
By this time Colangelo and the other partners were embroiled in a dispute over the financial health and direction of the Diamondbacks and notably including over $150 million in deferred compensation to many players who were key members of the 2001 World Series winning team and others. Colangelo’s willingness to go into debt and acquire players through free agency had led to one of the quickest free falls in major sports history. He was forced to resign his managing general partner post in the late summer of 2004. Colangelo sold his interest in the General Partnership of the Diamondbacks to a group of investors who were all involved as partners in the founding of the team in 1995. The investors include equal partners Ken Kendrick, Mike Chipman, and Jeffrey Royer. Jeff Moorad, a former sports agent, joined the partnership, and was named the team’s CEO; becoming its primary public face. Ken Kendrick became the managing general partner.
The Arizona Diamondbacks, often shortened as the D-backs, are an American professional baseball franchise based in Phoenix, Arizona. The club competes in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a member of the National League (NL) West division. Since the team’s inception in 1998, the franchise has played home games at Chase Field, formerly known as Bank One Ballpark. The ballpark was renamed in 2005, as a result of Bank One Corporation’s merger with JPMorgan Chase & Co. The Diamondbacks have won one World Series championship (in 2001), becoming the fastest expansion team in the Major Leagues to win a championship, doing it in only the fourth season since the franchise’s inception in the 1998 Major League Baseball season.
2000 – Present Major League Baseball
1998 – 1999 National League
Diamondbacks – The expansion franchise’s ownership group asked fans to vote from among a list of nicknames that included Coyotes, Diamondbacks, Phoenix, Rattlers, and Scorpions. A Diamondback, specifically Crotalus atrox, is a rattlesnake which is a very common sight in the Arizona desert and a fearsome symbol. A baseball field is also called a “diamond”. Owner Jerry Colangelo, really liked the idea of the club having a nickname with a bite to it.
1998 – Present Arizona Diamondbacks
World Series 1
2005 – Present Chase Field
1998 – 2005 Bank One Ballpark
2005 – Present Ken Kendrick
1998 – 2005 Jerry Colangelo
20 Luis Gonzalez
42 Jackie Robinson
51 Randy Johnson
2013 – present D-backs Luchador
2000 – present Baxter the Bobcat
*Blue is this team’s history