On Sunday, Randy Johnson is officially being inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. That provides the perfect excuse to take a stroll down memory lane and dive into his truly ridiculous career stats.
In his 22-year career, The Big Unit won 303 games (22nd-most in MLB history). Pitching during an era when, according to fellow Hall-of-Famer Pedro Martinez, 60 percent of baseball was using PEDs, he had an ERA of 3.29 with 4,875 strikeouts (second-most) and a strikeout-per-nine ratio of 10.61, which remains the best in history. He was selected to 10 All-Star games, won five Cy Young awards (second-most) and was named MVP of the 2001 World Series.
While he was with the Seattle Mariners and still learning how to pitch, he was unpredictable but thoroughly entertaining. During a span from 1990 through 1995, he led the league in walks three times, led the league in strikeouts four times, and led the league in hit batters twice. He had the triple-digit fastball and electrifying slider, but with iffy mechanics, he couldn’t always control those pitches.
Just ask John Kruk:
Johnson worked with Nolan Ryan to fix his mechanics in 1992 and quickly began dominating the league. An injury-plagued 1996 season served as a slight speedbump, but by the time he got to Arizona in 1999, he was as close to unhittable as it gets.
His numbers in his first four years with the Diamondbacks are video game-esque: 81-27, 2.48 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 1,417 strikeouts in 1,030 innings, 12.4 K/9 and a 2.53 FIP. He led the league in strikeouts and won the Cy Young all four years.
“He’s just so dominating. Filthy, ridiculous, stupid — I’ve pretty much used every adjective I could possibly think of,” said former teammate Damian Miller.
In 2001, Johnson won his first World Series title, and he–along with Curt Schilling–put the Diamondbacks on his lanky shoulders to do it. In Game 2 of the Fall Classic against the New York Yankees, he pitched a three-hit complete game shutout with 11 strikeouts. In Game 6, he pitched 7.0 innings to earn another victory. The very next day, he came on in relief and pitched 1.1 innings of perfect baseball, getting the win on Luis Gonzalez’s famous walk-off single.
When it was all said and done, Johnson had five of the Diamondbacks’ final eight wins of the postseason.
The list of statistical achievements and milestones is seemingly endless: His perfect game in 2004, when he was 40 years old. His 20-strikeout game in 2000. His 11-game stint with the Houston Astros, in which he tossed four shutouts and had a 1.28 ERA. His 2002 NL Triple Crown.
From his stature to his statistical profile, Johnson is a force unlike anything we’ll likely ever see again. Or, at least hitters around the league hope so.