Game 127, Yankees at Mariners
Johnson vs Washburn.
The 1990s Mariners are often associated with Ken Griffey Jr, Jay Buhner, Edgar Martinez, Lou Piniella, and even occassionally Alex Rodriguez. But for me, a lot of the memories that I love have to do with the Big Unit. I remember his no-hitter. I was at a couple of his 19K performances. I skipped school to watch him beat the Angels in the one game playoff. No one can forget the roar of the crowd when he began to warm up in game 5 of the ALDS against the Yankees. Randy Johnson was the most fun pitcher to watch of my youth. He was so dominant, so intimidating, and so tall.
When I was about 10 or 11, I went to Dave Valle’s baseball camp, where we learned not much of use but got to hang out with major league players. I remember asking Brian Holman how he felt when Ken Phelps went yard to end the perfect game and what he’d do if brother Brad ever blew a save for him. I remember asking Valle about Edgar’s toe tap timing mechanism. But more than anything else, I remember the last day, there was several lines for autographs. Valle’s line was the longest, naturally, and the Julio Cruz and Brian Holman lines were pretty long too. But the shortest line led to the table where the tall ugly guy sat. We didn’t really know who he was or why he was here, but I decided to get in that line, and ended up having a 10 minute conversation with Randy Johnson, and he couldn’t have been any nicer to me. He won me over that day, and then spent the next 10 years reinforcing what I already knew – this guy was awesome, and I’d never see anything like him again.
I never got on the Randy sold out bandwagon. I pulled for the Diamondbacks to win the World Series because I wanted to see him get a ring. I didn’t care when he went to the hated Yankees. He’s still Randy Johnson.
Call me whatever you want, but tonight, I’m rooting for Randy Johnson again. I hope he throws another no-hitter. Thanks for all the memories, RJ.