Randy Johnson to retire

Wow, what a fantastic career for the Big Unit. As a tribute, baseball-reference.com put up a bunch of random Randy facts. Look at those names! I mean, when was the last time you thought about Phil Nevin or Devon White?

In other news, I won a contest on Twitter this week, and will be receiving autographed balls signed by Randy Johnson, Nolan Ryan and Cole Hamels. How timely!

Heh…Ricky Henderson faced him the most of any batter…and hit all of .117 against him. OTOH, he also got walked by Johnson 26 times (remember how wild Johnson was when he was younger?)

When Johnson gets his HOF plaque in 2015, will he be a Mariner, or a Diamondback?

I think his true dominance was as a Diamondback. And I completely forgot about his half-season in Houston in 1998 (when he went 0-2 in the playoffs).

It also really says something about modern pitchers and having to find new metrics to evaluate careers. He had to pitch until age 45 to get win #300.

One of my favorite pitchers. If you want your ace to be thoroughly dominant and look the part, this was your guy. At his best he was scary as hell with his speed, his size, that snarl and even the mustache and haircut. He killed a bird with a fastball and he almost took John Kruk’s head off during an All-Star Game, which caused Kruk to stand at the far edge of the batter’s box in case it happened again and he couldn’t get out of the way. The guy just had “legend” written all over him.

It really says more about his career path than it does about wins. He was a late bloomer, for one thing. He broke into the majors at 25 but didn’t get really good until he was around 30. And late in his career he missed a lot of time due to injuries, especially late in his career. He didn’t pitch much in 2003, 2007 or 2009, and also missed a lot of 1996.

I remember that third-of-a-season in Houston. So, so amazing.

That was I think the only time as a Houston fan that I’ve looked at a team and said, “they could go all the way this year. No, they SHOULD go all the way this year.” The Yankees were amazing, too, that year, but the Astros had it all - an amazing offense, a deep pitching rotation, and now an ace who could not lose - he got his 10 wins with the Astros that year in 11 starts. But then they went into the playoffs and forgot how to hit, again, and it was all over.

I agree completely about Randy - I’ve always loved a power pitcher. But I always thought of this as a joke. I saw the Kruk at bat live on TV, and I seem to recall a sort-of clowning-around vibe. The pitch that sent Kruk to the ground was maybe 4 feet over his head, and the rest of the at bat was exaggerated for comic effect.

But the bird exploding into nothingness is the greatest baseball video clip since Nolan Ryan schooled Robin Ventura…


My all-time favorite photo of Randy:


I LoL’d!


Best URL ever. That’s wonderful. I always see him in my mind as that greasy trucker that looks like he’s taken too many pep-pills.

Didn’t Larry Walker once try to bat right-handed in an ASG against Johnson (complete with wearing his batting helmet backwards) rather than face him lefty-lefty?

It’s always sad when players who were playing when I really started following baseball ('91/'92) retire. There aren’t many left now. It makes me feel old.

Just wait until those guys’ kids start playing in the majors en masse. Then you’ll feel old. :smiley:

Kruk was having fun with it, but I think he was also being prudent. It was a hot night and that first pitch had completely slipped out of Johnson’s hand.

Imagine facing him. On the mound, with his 6’9" height, he would have appeared 10 feet tall, and could throw 100mph. Left-handed! And once he had developed that wicked fast slider late in his career, it was over.

I recall when I used to wait tables at this fancy restaurant in Cincinnati that Paul O’Neill used to frequent. One night (this would have been after Paul retired from the Yanks after the DBacks beat them in the WS…2000?) as he awaited the rest of his guests to leave, I just walked right up to him (and he’s a super nice guy) and blurted:

“Paul, I don’t mean to bother you, but ever since I have seen you coming here, I’ve been meaning to ask: what’s it like facing Randy Johnson?”

He kinda gave me a lopsided grin and said (paraphrasing) “Well, the thing of it is is that both of us are left-handed, so I couldn’t see his delivery because he’s so tall and his arm is so long, so this white blur comes into your peripheral vision and his pitches come so fast, that you literally hear them before you can actually clearly see it, and once you see it, its already in the catcher’s mitt.”

I thought that was wicked cool.

Here’s the link.

What was the correct call on that play. You can’t tell whether there is anyone on base. Is the ball live? can runners advance? If there was two strikes, could the batter swing and advance to 1st base on the dropped third strike?

I felt bad for the bird, but at least it never knew what hit it. The Kruk incident was funny, but frankly I don’t blame him in the least. As for Johnson, if the guy doesn’t get into the HoF on the first ballot, the voters need to be replaced.

I think the umpire ruled it no pitch, and AFAIK, there’s no specific rule about what happens when a pitcher hits a bird. I think it’s a situation where the umpire can rule as he sees fit.

Hopefully, he goes into the Hall as a Diamondback. He’d be the best choice for the D-backs first Hall of Famer.