If there’s a line of demarcation in the first decade of the Diamondbacks, it’s the 2003 season.
Before ’03, owner Jerry Colangelo spent big money on veterans like Randy Johnson, Curt Schilling and Steve Finley, and his largesse paid off with a World Series triumph in 2001.
But as those veterans got older and spent more time on the injury list than they did on the field, Colangelo and general manager Joe Garagiola Jr. were forced to change direction, and the 2003 season was the start of that philosophical switch.
Thirteen rookies saw action while war horses Matt Williams and Mark Grace had their careers come to an end. The Diamondbacks hung around the wild-card race for much of the year, but even their most ardent fans sensed the postseason was beyond the team’s grasp. Arizona was mathematically eliminated the final week of the season.
The official dismantling of the 2001 championship team occurred over the winter, when general manager Joe Garagiola Jr. traded Curt Schilling to Boston for Casey Fossum and Brandon Lyon, then turned around three days later and acquired slugger Richie Sexson from Milwaukee for six players.
By the time the 2004 season rolled around, the World Series seemed like a distant memory. And the changes were just beginning.