The Big Unit

If you think about the most dominating and imposing pitchers of all time, Randy Johnson has to be at or near the top of your list. The Big Unit stood a towering 6’10 on the mound and struck fear into opposing hitters with his size and the sheer velocity on his pitches. But not only was he a tall power pitcher, he is actually among the best pitchers of all time. Here we will look at perhaps the most dominant man on the mound, Randy Johnson.

After a brilliant high school baseball career (in which he actually threw a perfect game in his final start), Randy Johnson was drafted in the fourth round of the 1982 MLB Draft by the Atlanta Braves. But instead of going pro, Johnson instead decided to accept a scholarship offer from USC to play baseball, and also played basketball for the team as well. After his time and college, he was now ready to join the big leagues.

(source: realclearsports.com)

(source: realclearsports.com)


In the 1985 Draft the Montreal Expos selected Johnson in the second round. After spending a few years working his way through the minors, Johnson eventually would make his major league debut in 1988. While he had a 3-0 record in his rookie year, he had a less than stellar performance in 1989 that saw him go 0-4 before being traded to the Seattle Mariners.

The next season, 1990, saw him show flashes of brilliance and put the league on alert that he had the potential to be an amazing pitcher. His next few years showed growth and improvement, but in 1993, he really broke out as a star. In that 1993 season, Johnson went 19-8 and was second place in Cy Young award voting. He followed that up in 1994 with an 18-2 record, which was good enough to win him the award. He next few years were much of the same, with him striking out a ton of batters and getting a ton of wins, but he seemed to struggle in the playoffs. Eventually, he was moved to the Houston Astros, where he spent half a season (going 10-1) before becoming a free agent.

(source: foxsports.com)

(source: foxsports.com)

After the half season with the Astros, Johnson would sign with the Arizona Diamondbacks, the team where he would solidify himself as one of the best pitchers of all time. Not only did he lead the league in strikeouts almost every season with the Diamondbacks, but he also won four straight Cy Young awards from 1999-2002 and even took home a World Series title for his team in 2001.

By the end of his illustrious career, Johnson had been named to 10 all-star teams and he has the second most strikeouts of all time behind Nolan Ryan and would regularly throw fastballs over 100 mph in a time when that was almost unheard of. While he did struggle early and late in his career, the middle 10 or so years of his 21 year career were among the best years by a pitcher in history.

 

 



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