We continue the listing of the 10 greatest MLB players to come out of Virginia. Next up is #6.
#10 1B George McQuinn (Arlington)
#9 SS Gene Alley (Richmond)
#8 OF Michael Cuddyer (Chesapeake)
#7 OF Jim Lemon (Covington)
#6 OF Tony Womack (Danville)
Tony Womack played in the major leagues from 1993-2006 with 7 different teams, but he had his greatest success with the Pittsburgh Pirates and Arizona Diamondbacks. He started out with the Pirates from 1993-1998, a time in which he led the NL in Stolen Bases in 97 (60) and 98 (58), and in 1997 made his only all-str appearance.
He was traded to the Diamondbacks in 1999, and again led the league in Stolen Bases with 72, which to this day is also a Diamondbacks single-season franchise record. But he attained true hero status in the desert in 2001, as his clutch hitting helped the Diamondbacks upset the Yankees to win the World Series. In the division series, Womack’s walk off single won the deciding game against the St Louis Cardinals.
Arizona would go on to the World Series against the heavily favored Yankees, who became a rallying point for the city and the whole country, as this series was played just weeks after the 9/11 attacks. A back and forth series went to a 7th and deciding game, with the Yankees bringing in Mariano Rivera in the bottom of the 9th to try and bring home the title. This would not happen, as Womack ripped a game tying double to set the stage for Luis Gonzalez and his bloop single to bring the Diamondbacks the title. Arizona also became the fastest expansion team to win a World Series, winning it in their 4th year of existence, besting the Marlins by one year. With 182 SB, Womack is also Arizona’s all-time leader.
Womack left Arizona after 2003 and went on to play with the Yankees, Reds, Cardinals, Cubs, and Rockies over the next 3 years, before retiring from baseball. He now resides in Charlotte, NC with his family, and in 2014 was an instructor at Arizona’s fantasy camp.