Gonzalez to join D-backs front office

Gonzalez to join D-backs front office

PHOENIX -- Luis Gonzalez will be an Arizona Diamondback once again.

The former outfielder will officially join the organization's front office as special assistant to team president and CEO Derrick Hall.

The official announcement is expected to come Saturday evening, when the club hosts "Luis Gonzalez Appreciation Night." There will be a video tribute during a pregame ceremony on the field, and the first 25,000 fans entering the ballpark will also receive a commemorative "Gonzo" T-shirt.

Gonzalez, arguably the most popular player in franchise history, played for the D-backs from 1999-2006. He cemented his legacy in 2001, when he hit 57 home runs and led the D-backs to the 2001 World Series title.

In Game 7 of that World Series, Gonzalez blooped a single to left off Yankees closer Mariano Rivera in the bottom of the ninth inning to win the game and give Arizona its first -- and to this point only -- major professional sports championship.

Over 19 big league seasons, Gonzalez hit .283 with 2,591 hits, 596 doubles, 354 home runs and 1,439 RBIs. He is one of only 17 players in Major League history to collect at least 2,500 hits, 500 doubles, 350 home runs and 1,000 RBIs joining Hank Aaron, Stan Musial, Carl Yastrzemski, Willie Mays, Eddie Murray, Cal Ripken, Dave Winfield, Rafael Palmeiro, Frank Robinson, Barry Bonds, Babe Ruth, Andrew Dawson, Ken Griffey, Jr., Tony Perez, Lou Gehrig and Ted Williams.

I'm very happy with my career, the years that I played," Gonzalez told MLB.com earlier this month. "Where I grew up, baseball was a strong passion. I got to play for a long time. I got to meet a lot of great people, played against a lot of great players, and played with some Hall of Famers."

After the D-backs elected not to pick up his option, he became a free agent following the 2006 season. He spent one year with the Dodgers and one with the Marlins.

Gonzalez hoped to play in 2009 but did not receive any offers. Instead, he has spent the summer with his wife, Christine, and triplets Alyssa, Megan and Jacob.

"I still feel like I can play," Gonzalez said. "It's been different this year, because 22 years of my life has been structured around time and having to be somewhere, so it's been an adjustment. My family has helped me out tremendously with the adjustment," Gonzalez said. "I know that they would have liked me to have played again, but you know it is what it is."

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.