THE BIG UNIT - RANDY JOHNSON
Probably no one put more fear into left handed batters in recent history than "The Big Unit", Randy Johnson. Standing 6' 10" tall with a blistering fastball reaching over 100 mph many times, he also had a devastating slider, Randy called "Mr. Snappy", that would appear to be coming right at the batter. Batter's probably got worried by also remembering some of Randy's control problems at times. I got a kick out of John Kruk during the 1993 All Star game when he had some heart palpitations when curve ball got away from Randy and went right over John's head (video clip
). And Larry Walker during the 1997 All Star game, when he switched to batting right handed after Randy's curve ball flew over his head (video clip
). Here are some of his achievements:
- 303 career victories rank a 5th most by a left-hander in MLB history.
- 4,875 strikeouts place him 2nd all-time behind Nolan Ryan, and most by a left hander.
- 5 of seven highest single-season strikeout totals by a left-hander.
- 5 time Cy Young Award winner, second only to Roger Clemens' seven.
- One of two pitchers (the other being Greg Maddux) to win Cy YOung Award 4 consecutive times (1999-2002).
- In 1999 he joined Pedro Martinez and Gaylord Perry in winning the award in both the American and National Leagues.
- One of 5 pitchers to pitch no-hitters in both leagues.
- At age 40, on May 18, 2004, he became oldest pitcher in MLB history to throw a perfect game.
- One of 18 pitchers in history to record a win against all 30 MLB franchises.
- Won the pitching Triple Crown in 2002 (see earlier post The Triple Crown of Pitching: An Overview).
- Won the World series with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2001.
- One of two World Series MVP players in 2001, the other being Curt Schilling).
- Elected to Baseball Hall of Fame in 2015, hist first year of eligibility.
There were many other credits, but I remember him as a Mariner.