In this installment of this special series where we pick an all-time roster of players who came from Virginia, we turn to second base.
The clear choice to man 2B on Team Virginia is…..Tony Womack.
Womack, a Danville native, played in the major leagues from 1993-2006. He played his career with several different teams, but had his greatest success with Pittsburgh and Arizona.
Womack played in the steel city from 1993-1998, and became a regular second baseman in 1997. That was the year he led the league in Stolen Bases and made his only all-star team. 1997 would also be the first of 3 consecutive years he would lead the NL in stolen bases-a feat no one has accomplished since.
Womack was traded to the Diamondbacks in 1999 and set a franchise single-season SB record with 72, also leading the NL. He would spend five seasons playing in the desert, and amass 182 Stolen Bases while playing there. That remains a franchise record.
Womack was a key part of the 2001 Arizona Diamondbacks run to the title. His walk-off single won the National League Division Series against the Cardinals. The Dimaondbacks got all the way to the World Series and had to take on the 3-time defending champion New York Yankees. In the clinching game, Womack’s game-tying hit against the venerable Mariano Rivera would set the stage for Luis Gonzales’s bloop single to make the Diamondbacks the first team to win a title in only their 4th year of existence.
Womack left the Diamondbacks after the 2003 season and would go on to play for 5 more franchises over the next three years before retiring. He finished his career with a .273 batting average and 363 career stolen bases.
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.