1. Sports
Send to a Friend via Email

Your suggestion is on its way!

An email with a link to:

http://baseball.about.com/od/majorleaguehistory/a/Randy-Johnson.htm

was emailed to:

Thanks for sharing About.com with others!

You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Randy Johnson

By

Randy Johnson photo

Randy Johnson won 303 games in his career, ranking fifth all-time among left-handed pitchers.

Donald Miralle/Getty Images
Updated July 31, 2012

Vital Statistics:

Born: Sept. 10, 1963

Hometown: Walnut Creek, Calif.

Height: 6-10

Weight: 225 pounds

Bats: Right

Throws: Left

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.

Career Highlights:

  • 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.
  1. About.com
  2. Sports
  3. MLB
  4. Major League History
  5. Randy Johnson - Profile of Future Hall of Fame Pitcher Randy Johnson

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.