Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Randy Johnson Takes Himself Out Of The Ballgame.

Fearsome, crotchety, dominating, a helluva lot of fun to watch and a Big Unit, indeed. See ya on a plaque in Cooperstown, Randy Johnson...

From the AP via SportsIllustrated.com:

Randy Johnson is retiring after 22 major league seasons.

The Big Unit, an overpowering left-hander who last June became the 24th pitcher to win 300 games, made the expected announcement Tuesday on a conference call.

"I really wanted to go out on my terms," Johnson said. "I just feel like there's not a lot more for me to do in this game. I just think it's a natural progression when you play this long. Eventually you have to say it's time."

A five-time Cy Young Award winner, the 46-year-old Johnson accomplished just about everything in his remarkable career that a player hopes for in baseball.

He owns a World Series ring and co-MVP honors, and was a 10-time All-Star. He threw two no-hitters, including a perfect game, and ranks second on the career strikeout list.

The 6-foot-10 Johnson finishes with a career record of 303-166 and 4,875 strikeouts in 4,135 1-3 innings for Montreal, Seattle, Houston, Arizona, theNew York Yankeesand San Francisco. His strikeouts are the most by a left-hander and second to Nolan Ryan's 5,714.

"It's all been a bit of a whirlwind. I never really got caught up in what I did," Johnson said. "I never really dwelled on my achievements. They're nice. Maybe now I'll be able to reflect on them."

And to think, early in his career Johnson was a shaggy-haired pitcher who lacked control of his blazing fastball.

"This isn't a tall man's sport -- basketball is," he said.

But by the time he was done, he had a Hall of Fame resume.

Johnson pitched his first no-hitter in 1990, won 19 games with 308 strikeouts in 1993 and led the Mariners to their first playoff berth with an 18-2 record in 1995. He finished his 10-year stint in Seattle with a 130-74 record before being traded to Houston in 1998.

He signed as a free agent with the Diamondbacks before the following season, beginning one of the most dominating runs a pitcher has ever had. Johnson won the Cy Young in each of his first four seasons with Arizona, capturing the coveted pitcher's triple crown in 2002 with a 24-5 record, 2.32 ERA and 334 strikeouts.

His most memorable moments were in 2001, when he came out of the bullpen to beat the Yankees in Game 7 of the World Series to give the Diamondbacks the title. He went 3-0 in the Series, sharing the MVP award with Curt Schilling.

Johnson pitched a perfect game at age 40 against Atlanta.

Rickey Henderson certainly felt the heat before that. The Hall of Famer struck out in 30 of 59 at-bats against Johnson, making him the Unit's top victim.

The Big Unit added that he plans to coach someday. He has a one-year service agreement to work in some capacity for the Diamondbacks.

BeltwayBlips: vote it up!

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