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Randy Johnson
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Randy Johnson

Randall David "Randy" Johnson (born September 10, 1963 in Walnut Creek, California) is a left-handed pitcher in Major League Baseball. He is most noted for his stature (at 6'10" (2.08 m), he is the tallest player to ever play in the Majors) and one of the meanest fastballs in the game. Randy has won the Cy Young Award five times, second only to Roger Clemens' six.

Since entering the league, he has been among the most feared pitchers in the game. Opposing hitters have often remarked that, because of his height and release point, it feels as though he's pitching from ten feet closer than he actually is. Combined with a 95 mile-per-hour fastball, many batters find him practically unhittable.

Table of contents
1 Early Career
2 Best Years
3 Accomplishments
4 Yearly salaries
5 Teams
6 External links

Early Career

Randy Johnson was drafted by the Montreal Expos in the 2nd round of the 1985 amateur draft and made his debut on September 15, 1988. Despite four solid starts that fall, Johnson struggled with his command early the next season and lost the faith of the Montreal organization. On May 25, 1989 he was traded along with Gene Harris and Brian Holman to the Seattle Mariners for a player to be named later and Mark Langston.

The change of scenery was not an instant remedy for the "Big Unit's" wildness -- he walked over 100 batters in 1990, 1991 and 1992 -- but he worked hard and the organization stuck with him. He posted better-than-average ERA and strikeout numbers those years, prompting many to ask the question of how good he would be if he could just get control of his fastball. The question would be answered over the next decade.

Best Years

Johnson broke out in 1993, combining overwhelming pitching with improved mechanics en route to a 19-8 record, 3.24 ERA and his first of many 300-plus strikeout seasons (308 that year). After pitching well in the strike-shortened 1994, Johnson won the American League Cy Young Award in 1995 with a phenomenal 18-2 record, 2.48 ERA and 294 strikeouts.

Johnson was sidelined throughout much of the 1996 season with a back injury, but he rebounded in 1997 with a 20-4 record, 291 strikeouts, and a 2.28 ERA (his personal best).

1998 was a tale of two seasons for Johnson. He was due to become a free agent at the end of the season but the Mariners' strapped budget prevented them from making any serious offers for a contract extension during the season. Concerns over whether and when he might be traded likely played a role in Johnson's 9-10 record with the Mariners during the early part of that season. His 4.33 ERA during that stretch was highly unusual.

Johnson's season turned around on July 31, 1998 when he was traded at the deadline to the Houston Astros for a player to be named later (John Halama), Freddy Garcia and Carlos Guillen. Houston was in the thick of a pennant race and benefitted from Johnson's strong arm anchoring the rotation. In 11 starts, he went 10-1 with a sparkling 1.28 ERA, leading the Astros to the playoffs. Despite only pitching for a third of a season in the National League, he finished 7th in National League Cy Young Award voting.

Johnson signed one of the largest contracts to that date in the off-season, inking a $53-million, four-year deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks a second-year and relatively inexperienced franchise. The move paid off, however, as Johnson led the team to the playoffs that year on the strength of a 17-9 record and 2.48 ERA, enough to earn him his second Cy Young Award. In 2000, Arizona acquired power-pitcher Curt Schilling from the Philadelphia Phillies, giving Arizona the most feared starting duo in the early 21st century. Johnson and Schilling carried the Diamondbacks to their first franchise World Series appearance and victory in 2001, in only their fifth year of existence. The two pitchers shared World Series MVP co-honours and were named Sports Illustrated magazine's 2001 "Sportsmen of the Year".

Johnson spent the majority of the 2003 season on the disabled list and wasn't effective in the few injury-hampered starts he did make. However, even though he is now in his early 40's, Johnson has consistently proven himself to get better with age. Few doubt his ability to produce in 2004, just two years removed from his last Cy Young award.

On May 18, 2004, Johnson became only the 17th person, and at 40 years of age, the oldest person in Major League Baseball history, to throw a perfect game, with 13 strikeouts on his way to a 2-0 defeat of the Atlanta Braves.

On June 29, 2004, Johnson struck out Jeff Cirillo of the San Diego Padres to become only the 4th person to throw 4000 strikeouts in a career.

Accomplishments

Yearly salaries

Teams

External links