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Randy Johnson

Randy Johnson

Position(s):
P, LF, OF
Nicknames:
Big Unit
Born:
September 10, 1963
Bats:
Right
Throws:
Left
Height:
6' 10"
Weight:
225 lbs
Major League Debut:
9-15-1988 with MON
Allstar Selections:
1995 CY, 1995 TSN, 1999 CY, 2000 CY, 2001 BR, 2001 CY, 2001 WsMVP, 2002 CY, 2002 TC

Intro

Like Sandy Koufax, Randy Johnson battled control problems early in his career before finally developing into the most dominant pitcher in the game. But unlike Koufax, Johnson's arm shows no signs of stoppage, having earned four straight Cy Young Awards through 2002. In the 2001 World Series, Johnson became the first pitcher in 35 years to win three games in the Fall Classic, as he led the D'Backs to a championship in just their fourth season. Johnson is the tallest man (6'10") to ever play in the major leagues, and the combination of his height and tremendous fastball intimidate opposing batters. In 1990, he threw the first no-hitter in Mariners' history, and in 1997 he became the M's first 20-game winner. After nearly a decade in Seattle, he was traded to the Houston Astros before the July 1998 trade deadline, as the Mariners made the decision not to pursue him as a free agent at the end of the season. After a 10-1, 1.28 ERA performance for Houston that helped them to the post-season, Johnson signed with Arizona as a free agent in the 1998 off-season, and later was dealt to the Yankees.

Unform Number

#51 (1988-2002), #34 (1993)

Quotes From

"I tried to work through it. By no means did I pitch with any comfort factor. But that's the kind of person I am, an overpaid athlete who tries to give something back." — Randy Johnson, on pitching through the pain of his back injury in 2006

Best Season

He won his fourth Cy Young Award, and third in a row. In the regular season he paced the NL in K's (372) and ERA (2.49), while posting a 21-6 record. In the post-season he was 5-1 with a 1.52 ERA, and 47 strikeouts in 41 1/3 innings. He won three games in the World Series, including Games Six and Seven.

Factoid 1

From May 15, 1994, through the end of the 1997 season - a span of 91 games pitched - Randy Johnson had an amazing 53-9 record. Over that stretch he never lost more than one game in a row, and he built winning streaks of eight games, seven games (twice), five games, and a 16-game streak that stretched over three seasons.

Factoid 2

On March 25, 2001, in an exhibition game against the San Francisco Giants, Randy Johnson killed a dove when one of his fastballs hit the bird in front of home plate. The bird exploded in a cloud of feathers.

Transition

Selected by Montreal Expos in the 2nd round of the free-agent draft (June 3, 1985); Traded by Montreal Expos with Brian Holman and Gene Harris to Seattle Mariners in exchange for Mark Langston and a player to be named later (May 25, 1989) - Montreal Expos received Mike Campbell (July 31, 1989); Traded by Seattle Mariners to Houston Astros in exchange for Freddy Garcia, Carlos Guillen and a player to be named later (July 31, 1998) - Seattle Mariners received John Halama (October 1, 1998); Granted free agency (October 28, 1998); Signed by Arizona Diamond Backs (December 10, 1998); signed as a free agent by the Yankees in December 2004. At the July 31, 1998 trade deadline, the Mariners dealt Johnson to the Houston Astros for pitcher Freddy Garcia, shortstop Carlos Guillen and a player to be named later. Johnson responded with an amazing 10-1 record and four shutouts in 11 starts for the Astros. When he was acquired, the Astros were 3 1/2 games ahead of the Cubs in the NL Central race. His performance helped Houston win 102 games and run away with the division title. In his second and third starts for the Astros, Johnson shut out the Phillies and Brewers in dominating fashion. As the National League had their first look at a mature and polished Randy Johnson, the lefty struck out 116 batters in 84 innings, posting a 1.28 ERA. In the post-season, Johnson pitched well, fanning 17 in 14 innings during the NLDS, but he lost twice as his teammates couldn't supply him with much offensively. Despite his two losses to the Padres, Johnson had a 1.93 ERA in the series. In the off-season, Johnson bolted Houston for the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Strengths

Power

Weaknesses

He's a crappy hitter and a mediocre fielder, but who cares?

Feats

Randy Johnson hurled a perfect game on May 18, 2004, against the Braves in Atlanta. At 40 years and 251 days, Johnson became the oldest pitcher to throw a perfect game... Johnson's 13 K's were the second-highest total ever recorded in a perfect game... The Braves had never been involved in a perfect game, and neither had the D-Backs... Johnson joined Hall of Famers Cy Young and Jim Bunning as the only pitchers to throw a perfect game in one league, and a no-hitter in the other. Johnson previously no-hit the Detroit Tigers on June 2, 1990, while he was with the Seattle Mariners... The nearly 14 years between Johnson's two-nitters is the longest span in baseball history... The final out was pinch-hitter Eddie Perez, who struck out swinging... Johnson threw the first no-hitter in Diamondbacks history, as well as the first in Mariners history. Johnson threw a no-hitter on June 2, 1990, against Detroit in Seattle. He fanned eight batters and walked six. It was the first no-hitter in Mariners' history... On August 14, 1991, in the Kingdome, Johnson nearly got his second no-hitter. He held the A's without a safety through eight innings before Mike Gallego singled to left field in the ninth... Johnson also threw one-hit shutouts in 1993 and 1998... Twice Johnson has strung together shutout streaks of 30 or more innings, in May/June 1994 (30 1/3 IP), and in May/June of 1997 (32 IP)... On July 19, 2001, Johnson pitched all seven innings of a game that had been suspended due to a power failure the night before. He pitched the game in relief of Curt Schilling, and recorded 16 strikeouts, breaking the previous record for most K's in a relief appearance, held by Walter Johnson.

Notes

In 2001, Johnson won three games in the World Series, becoming the first pitcher since Detroit's Mickey Lolich (1968) to do so. Back in the AL with the Yanks in 2005, Johnson has an opportunity to eclipse Lolich's record for most strikeouts in the American League by a lefty. He trails Lolich by 517 K's, or about two full seasons of work for the Big Unit. Johnson turns 42 on September 10, 2005... Johnson, entering 2003, had 28 games in which he struck out at least 15 batters. At Arizona's Bank One Ballpark on May 8, 2001, Johnson fanned 20 Reds through nine innings but left the contest with the score tied, 1-1. In that game, Johnson struck out Barry Larkin and Alex Ochoa three times apiece. In all, he struck out ten different Cincinnati batters. The 20 K's tied a record for most in the first nine innings of a game... On two occasions while he was with the Mariners, Johnson struck out 19 batters. The first was on June 24, 1997, in the Kingdome against the A's. Johnson lost that game, surrendering 11 hits and two homers. Less than two months later, again in the Kingdome, Johnson set down 19 White Sox' batters on strikes. That time he got the win and allowed just five hits... Johnson has struck out 18 batters once, on September 27, 1992. In that game he faced Nolan Ryan of the Rangers, at Arlington Stadium in Texas. Johnson struck out the side in order twice, and racked up six straight K's at one point. He left the game after the 8th, and did not get the decision. Ryan struck out five batters in seven innings, and left the game tied, 2-2. The Rangers eventually won in the ninth, 3-2... Prior to his opening day loss in 2003, Johnson was a perfect 5-0 in Opening Day starts... Johnson was the first left-handed pitcher to strike out Wade Boggs three times in a single game... Through 2005, Johnson had been ejected in the regular season six times. Twice as part of bench-clearing brawls, once for arguing balls-and-strikes, and three times for hitting batters. The Batters he hit were Kenny Lofton (twice) and Julio Franco.

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