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Smallthoughts: Old School Tuesday…Randy Johnson

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Randy Johnson the ExpoRandy JohnsonRandy+Johnson+San+Francisco+Giants+v+Seattle+cK0HTypOo-HlThe Big Unitrandy-johnson.jpg yankeeThis week Baseball will announce it’s Hall of fame class of 2015 and one of the ones reportedly annou8nced will be the Big Unit …Randy Johnson, so it was fitting that Smallthoughts: Old School Tuesday would Feature …Randy Johnson and few others who made the list a possible Hall of Famers. So we begin with Randy Johnson aka the Big Unit.

During batting practice in 1988, the 6’10” Johnson, then with the Montreal Expos, collided head-first with outfielder Tim Raines, prompting his teammate to exclaim, “You’re a big unit!”[43] The nickname stuck.

Johnson was among the most feared pitchers in baseball because of his dominant pitching arsenal (fastball, slider), augmented by his intimidating appearance (height, wild mullet hairstyle and mustache), and his angry, energetic demeanor on the mound. Part of his early intimidation factor came from his dramatic lack of control.

Hard throwing left at 6’10 coming off the mound as he thrown would strike and did strike fear at opposing players who stepped into the batters box and his lack of control further made him even more scary to face.

On May 18, 2004, Johnson pitched the 17th perfect game in baseball history. At 40 years of age, he was the oldest pitcher to accomplish this feat. Johnson had 13 strikeouts on his way to a 2–0 defeat of the Atlanta Braves. The perfect game made him the fifth pitcher in Major League history (after Cy Young, Jim Bunning, Nolan Ryan, and Hideo Nomo) to pitch a no-hitter in both leagues. Johnson struck out Jeff Cirillo of the San Diego Padres on June 29, 2004 to become only the fourth MLB player to reach 4,000 strikeouts in a career.

In the prime of his career, Johnson’s fastball was sometimes clocked over 100 mph (160 km/h), even as high as 102 mph (164 km/h) with a low three-quarters delivery (nearly sidearm)] His signature pitch was a slider that broke down and away from left-handed hitters and down and in to right-handed hitters. The effectiveness of the pitch is marked by its velocity being in the low 90s along with tight late break; hitters often believe they were thrown a fastball until the ball breaks just before it crosses home plate. Right-handed hitters have swung through and missed sliders that nearly hit their back foot. Johnson dubbed his slider “Mr. Snappy”. In later years, his fastball declined to the 96 mph (154 km/h) range and his slider clocked at around 87 mph (140 km/h). Johnson also threw a split-finger fastball that behaved like a change-up and a sinker to induce ground-ball outs. In a June 27, 2012, appearance on The Dan Patrick Show, Adam Dunn (a left-handed batter) was asked who the best pitcher he faced was. “Honestly, Randy Johnson when he was good. It’s hopeless. It’s like a hopeless feeling. The first time you face him you feel like he’s going to hit you right in the back of the neck when he throws it, like every pitch is going to hit you in the back of the neck. And it ends up down and away for a strike and you just have to trust it’s going to be a strike, and heaven forbid he doesn’t lose one out there and heaven forbid, there goes your cheek.”

Smallthoughts: Old School Tuesday salutes the Big Unit and future hall of famer…Randy Johnson.

MLB debut
September 15, 1988 for the Montreal Expos
Last MLB appearance
October 4, 2009 for the San Francisco Giants
Career statistics
Win–loss record 303–166
Earned run average 3.29
Strikeouts 4,875
Teams
Career highlights and awards
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