Gonzalez will forever be in the hearts of Arizona Diamonbacks fans as the player who beat the New York Yankees in the 2001 World Series.

 

Luis grew up in Tampa and graduated, from Thomas Jefferson High School in 1985 along with his neighborhood friend and New York Yankee player, Tino Martinez. After attending South Alabama University where he garnered Baseball America’s All-Freshman Second Team honors, he was selected in the fourth round of the 1988 Amateur Draft by the Houston Astros.

From 1990 to 1995 Gonzalez played for the Houston Astros. In late 1995, he was traded to the Chicago Cubs where in 1996, he had a .271 batting average with 15 homeruns and drove in 79 runs. In 1998 and under a one year contract with the Detroit Tigers he batted 267 with 23 home runs and 71 runs batted in and in 1999, Gonzalez was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks and become a key player in the organization.

He helped the Diamondbacks become league leaders hitting a career high.336 in 1999 and leading the league (NL) with 206 hits which helped the Diamondbacks captured the western division. The team lost in the play-offs to the New York Mets for the right to represent the National League in the World Series. 1999 proved to be a great year for Gonzalez as he was selected to the All-Star Classic in July. In 2000, the Diamondbacks ended the season in third place in their division. He blasted 31 homerun with 192 hits.

2001 proved to be the best year for Gonzalez as he surprised everyone by hitting 57 homeruns, his personal best in any season. The 57 homeruns is the third best in National League history for a left-handed batter behind Barry Bonds’s record 73, which also came in 2001, and Ryan Howard’s 58 in 2006. He was selected to his second All-Star game in July and finished a league second best with 198 hits and was the over-all champion in the Home Run Derby. In 2001, it was Gonzalez base hit in the 9th inning against Mariano Rivera, ace reliever for the New York Yankees, that captured the World Series for the Diamondbacks.

Gonzalez retired in 2009 and later joined the ESPN and FOX baseball networks as a baseball commentator. Presently, he is now an executive with the Diamondbacks organization. Gonzalez jersey No. 20 was retired by the Diamondbacks in special ceremonies in 2010.