Born: Sept. 10, 1963
Hometown: Walnut Creek, Calif.
Weight: 225 pounds
Family: Wife, Lisa; four children: Sammi, Tanner, Willow and Alexandria. Daughter, Heather from earlier relationship.
Primary position: Starting pitcher
Before the bigs:
- Threw a perfect game in his final high school start at Livermore High in California.
- Drafted in the second round in 1982 by the Atlanta Braves, but opted to play college baseball at Southern Cal, and also played basketball there.
- Drafted again in 1985 in the second round by the Montreal Expos.
- Often struggled with his control in the minors, walking 333 and striking out 487 in 462 1/3 innings in the minors (ncluding rehab stints).
- Spent about four years in the minors, showing promise despite his wildness. Went 11-8 with a 3.73 ERA with Double-A Jacksonville in 1987, then 8-7 with a 3.26 ERA for Triple-A Indianapolis in 1988.
- Perhaps the most intimidating pitcher of all-time, standing 6-foot-10 with long hair and a mean-looking mustache, known for wildness early in his career and throwing a fastball that approached 100 mph to go with a devastating slider.
- One of the top left-handers of all-time, he went 303-166 in his 22-year career with a 3.29 ERA and 4,875 strikeouts, which rankes No. 2 all-time behind Nolan Ryan.
- Won five Cy Young Awards in his career. Only Roger Clemens (7) won the award more times.
- Threw the 16th perfect game in baseball history on May 18, 2004 against the Braves.
- A 10-time All-Star, he defeated every team in the major leagues at least once.
- Led his league in strikeouts nine times in his career, and surpassed 300 Ks in a season six times.
- Struck out 20 batters in a game on May 8, 2001 against the Cincinnati Reds. He struck out 18 batters or more in a game four times.
- Received his nickname -- "The Big Unit" -- in 1988 as a rookie when veteran outfielder Tim Raines ran into him during batting practice and said, "Man, you're a big unit." And the nickname stuck.
- Went 3-0 in four starts for the Expos at age 24 in 1988, but struggled to an 0-4 start in 1989 and was traded to the Seattle Mariners in 1989 for Mark Langston.
- Turned out to be one of the best trades in Seattle history, though he led the AL in walks for three seasons in a row.
- Threw his first career no-hitter on June 2, 1990 against the Detroit Tigers.
- Famously threw a brush-back pitch to the Phillies' John Kruk in the 1993 All-Star Game, and Kruk then waved at a pitch simply to get out of the way.
- Emerged as a dominant ace in 1994, and won 43 out of 47 decisions from May 1994 to 1997.
- Won the AL Cy Young Award, his first, in 1995, when he went 18-2 with a 2.48 ERA and led Seattle to its first division title and playoff appearance. Threw a complete-game three-hitter in a one-game playoff against the Angels, then led Seattle to a first-round upset of the New York Yankees before losing in the ALCS to the Cleveland Indians.
- Set an American League record with 19 strikeouts against the Oakland A's in 1997, and struck out 19 against the Chicago White Sox later that season. Finished 20-4 on the season and finished second in Cy Young voting to Clemens in 1997.
- Traded to the Houston Astros in 1998, and won 10 of 11 starts with a 1.28 ERA and four shutouts, but lost two games in the playoffs.
- Signed a four-year deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks before the 1999 season, and won the NL Cy Young Award in each of the next four seasons.
- He was joined a year later in the Diamondbacks rotation by Curt Schilling, where they formed one of the best 1-2 duos in big-league history the following season. Went 21-6 with a league-leading 2.49 ERA in 2001, and Schilling went 22-6. Johnson then went 5-1 in the playoffs, and won three games in the World Series with a 1.04 ERA against the Yankees, who had won the World Series in the three previous seasons. He was the World Series co-MVP with Schilling.
- In a spring training game in 2001, he threw a fastball that hit a dove in mid-air, killing it instantly in a flurry of feathers, one of the oddest baseball moments of all-time.
- Won the pitching Triple Crown in 2002, leading the NL in wins, ERA and strikeouts. His 24 wins were a career-high.
- Traded to the Yankees in 2005, but struggled there in two seasons (relatively), going 34-19 with a 4.37 ERA.
- Returned to Arizona in 2007 at age 43 via a trade so he could be closer to his family.
- Finished his career with a season with the San Francisco Giants, and won his 300th game on June 4, 2008 against the Washington Nationals.
- Made $175 million in salary in his 22-year career.